APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
Implementation of this commitment includes four core strategies:
1. Building a national coalition: This includes developing a Campaign Leadership Team comprising of major national organizations in each of the cross-cutting issue areas in the policy agenda including National Partnerships for Women and Families, the National Employment Law Project, American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), American Federation of State, City and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and dozens more organizations.
2. Organizing local Care Councils and Care Congresses in 18 cities across the country: Each city will form an organizing committee called a Care Council that will bring together key stakeholder groups at the local level such as disability rights, women, and civil rights groups, together with unions and senior groups. These Councils will work together to organize local events called Care Congresses - town hall meetings to reach local community members impacted by the 'care crisis', seek community reconciliation, and involve all sectors in the campaign. Local Care Councils will also develop grassroots organizing and advocacy campaigns geared toward passing City Council resolutions in support of the federal policy goals, in addition to local and state level policies that support the federal policy goals. The latter may include collaborations with state and local workforce development agencies and departments of labor, local and state legislative efforts (e.g. to provide funding for training or demonstration projects, new state tax credits for families in need of care, etc.).
3. Integrating the campaign values and policy goals into the civic and voter engagement work of community organizations and unions across the country: This will include identifying seniors, people with disabilities and their families and engaging them in ongoing work to promote the vision and values in the campaign as NDWA and DWU encourage them to vote in the elections.
4. Supporting new organizing efforts to bring together and develop the leadership of key voices in the care crisis including older adults, people with disabilities, their families and care workers: this will include supporting local community organizations to establish senior organizing committees and support for disability rights organizing at the local level.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
The Caring Across Generations Campaign will be launched on July 12, 2011 at the Inaugural Care Congress - the first national town hall meeting on care, bringing together 700 people from all walks of life to share their care stories, concerns, hopes and dreams. The outcomes of this will include plans for Care Congresses in additional cities, participants trained in how to build the campaign in their local cities (including passing local City Council resolutions in support of the values and policy goals for federal legislation), and a few candidates identified for Congressional sponsors of the federal legislation.
Between the July launch and July of 2012, seventeen additional cities will be organizing local Care Congresses and putting together local organizing structures called Care Councils. Each Care Council will develop a local plan with measureable goals and outcomes, including jobs to be created locally by the Care Council and local jobs to be affected or impacted by the overall national campaign.
In addition, 5-8 states will be integrating the campaign goals and values deeply into their civic engagement and voter mobilization work for the 2012 election cycle. States are likely to include California, Florida, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington. Civic and voter engagement will emphasize non-partisan outreach to and leadership development of older adults, people with disabilities and their families.
As the baby boomer population ages, a shift with enormous economic and political implications is taking place in the United States. People with long-term care and support service needs are projected to grow from 13 million in 2000, to 27 million in 2050 [PHI]. The current long-term care workforce numbers at approximately 3 million workers [PHI]. The gap between the care that is needed and the current workforce could present a social crisis of immense proportions. At the same time, we are faced with one of the most severe economic downturns in decades, with unemployment rates remaining high. Millions of jobs have disappeared without hope of returning.
Caring for the aging and people with disabilities is among our most important responsibilities as a nation. Older adults hold the lessons and historical memory that is the foundation we stand on today. And yet, families are left on their own to find appropriate care, with limited options. Individuals with disabilities who are hiring and managing their own care are facing the same challenges. Across generations, individuals and families struggle to acquire and maintain the support they need. As a nation, we have yet to take collective responsibility for upholding the right to a dignified quality of life for our elders and people with disabilities.
Long-term care workers help ensure our grandparents, parents and loved ones with disabilities receive quality care and support. The work they do is vital. However the care workforce- whether direct care workers or domestic workers - is compelled to work under strenuous, highly vulnerable and often exploitative conditions. Domestic workers are often pulled into the care gap to provide vital care for the aging population, yet lack access to appropriate training or pathways to career advancement and citizenship. Connected by the need for care and support, we count on one another to realize a dignified quality of life. We all have a stake in transforming care.
National Domestic Workers Alliance and Domestic Workers United will help build a national movement including women, disability rights, older adult, worker, community, youth, student and caregiver organizations to advocate on a national level for the implementation of the '5 Fingers of the Caring Hand' policy vision and transform long-term care in our common interest.
Caring Across Generations brings together aging Americans, people with disabilities, workers, and their families to protect all Americans' right to choose the care and support they need to live with dignity.
We are a movement of family members, workers, and fellow Americans supported by a growing coalition of organizations advocating for a system of quality, dignified care. We believe every American should be able to choose the care they want based on their needs-and that every American would benefit from being a part of a more supportive care system. Improving the way we provide care for one another will create an economy and a society that works for all of us.
We welcome partnerships of all kinds, in particular funding partnerships, local and national coalition members, academic and media support, and above all the engagement of ordinary Americans in advancing the vision of a caring economy that work for all.