Kaine’s bill directs the ACL to develop national center for direct care workforce and family caregivers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions (HELP) Committee, applauded the Administration for Community Living’s (ACL) announcement establishing a national center to expand and strengthen the direct care workforce. Direct care workers and family caregivers provide critical support to older Americans, people with disabilities, and individuals living with chronic conditions. Kaine, who has long advocated for the direct care workforce, introduced legislation last year that would direct the ACL to develop a national center to support the direct care workforce and family caregivers.

“I applaud the Biden Administration for establishing a national center to help recruit, retain, and train more direct care workers—which I’ve called for in my legislation,” said Senator Kaine. “This center will help ensure there are enough workers to meet the growing demand in the years to come.

Currently, 4.5 million workers, including nearly 2.3 million home care workers, make up the direct care workforce, and this industry is expected to grow by more than a million jobs by 2028, not including the jobs that will need to be filled as existing workers leave the field or exit the labor force. Better pay and benefits, strategies to recruit and retain professionals in the field, education and training enhancements, and better career advancement opportunities are some of the investments needed to meet the demands of this workforce shortage.

The shortage of direct care workers often puts pressure on family caregivers. The number of American caregivers providing unpaid caregiving has increased over the past 5 years, and 23% of caregivers say that caregiving has made their health worse. 

In addition to creating a national center, Kaine’s bill, the Supporting Our Direct Care Workforce and Family Caregivers Act, would direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to award grants to states or eligible entities to build, retain, and train the direct care workforce and family caregivers.

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