Kicking off our newest series featuring Caregivers we speak with Connie Siskowski, President & Founder of the American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY). Connie speaks with Dave and Erik about the hidden population of caregivers in our society: children. Her organization provides programming to offer support to this often-overlooked population - providing them respite and resources. Connie’s work illuminates what hardships are most pressing for youth caregivers and how, as a society, we can hopefully implement policies and secure funding to address these inequities.
Who are Youth Caregivers? Caregiving youths are children and adolescents who are 18 years of age or younger and who provide significant or substantial assistance, often on a regular basis, to relatives or household members who need help because of physical or mental illness, disability, frailty associated with aging, substance misuse, or other condition.
Connie Siskowski’s broad background in healthcare and dedication to diminishing caregiver struggles led to the establishment of the American Association for Caregiving Youth (AACY), headquartered in Boca Raton, FL. AACY integrates healthcare, education, and the community to provide a strong foundation for the youth and their families.
Connie authored the book, I’m a Teen Caregiver. Now What? She has received many awards including the lifetime Ashoka Fellowship, Purpose Prize, Distinguished Alumna Award from Johns Hopkins University, and Top Ten CNN Hero for 2012. Connie is now on the faculty of the national Family RAISE Caregiving Council to give caregiving youth a voice.
NY Time Article: Supporting Children who Serve as Caregivers
American Association of Caregiving Youth
CNN Hero: Connie Siskowski