If you are a parent of a caretaking kid who could use some help - here are a few grassroots suggestion for you.
- Send this website to your school counselor, principal or service hour administrator with a note explaining your individual circumstance.
- Ask if they can grant your child the service hours, and also ask how the children in your school can be identified and acknowledged by counselors, staff and teachers. It is so important that the schools understand the situation these kids are in. Use our resources page to contact other organizations on ways they could help.
- A sample form letter to send to School Administrators requesting identification of children who are caretaking in their home and explaining the importance of recognition and influence their academic performance. COMING SOON
It is our view that:
- Children who are caretakers should not have to complete additional community service hours outside of school or to be confirmed by a religious organization. The exercise should be optional for them based on their own family circumstance.
- It is very hard to fill out "hours" forms for caregiving when you are a caregiver. Sometimes the things that kids have to do for their person can be hard to talk about or humiliating for them to write. This is something that usually is hard to quantify - the answer to "how many hours" did you put into caretaking today is a preposterous question. The answer is 24 hours. Whether you are actively caretaking at home or while you are at school, wherever you are - the responsibilities and worry never leave you. It's always on your mind.
- I recently received a list of activities that counted towards service learning hours from our school - this list included nursing homes they could visit. I worry that such a thing could trigger some very unpleasant memories or even have them experience a PTSD type of reaction. This is real for all caretakers, especially children.
Printable Kid Caretaker Recognition Award - For Schools / Teachers / Counselors / Religious Education Administrators
The point of this is to PROVIDE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT, APPRECIATION, VALIDATION and PRIDE in the type of service they are or have provided - not to GET them OUT OF service. Kid Caregiving is a unique circumstance - kid caretakers live the word service almost every hour of every day. It needs to be recognized and rewarded by schools and religious organizations - at least. It's the least we can do. The most we can do is to advocate and assist with programs like the American Association of Caregiving Youth has implemented and is working hard to replicate.