The American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY) estimates 10,000 youth caregivers live in Palm Beach County, Fla. These young adults cook, clean, administer meds and still go to school, though school is often the lowest of priorities from many. A 2006 study by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation found 22% of high school dropouts left school to care for a family member. The Caregiving Youth Project offers classes in coping with stress, managing finances and setting goals, and also makes school teachers and administrators aware of the children’s special circumstances.  “We can’t change the health conditions of the person (receiving care,” said Connie Siskowski, founder of the AACY. “But what we can do is provide the skills and the resources to the children so that they can have a little more balance in their life. And so that they know they’re not alone.”

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