Posted Sunday, July 18, 2021
A bipartisan group of Senators led by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) have introduced the Supporting Our Direct Care Workforce and Family Caregivers Act bill, a sister bill to the House’s Direct Care Opportunity Act, to provide $1 billion in grants to states and other eligible entities to support innovative projects and programs focused on recruitment, retention, and training for direct care workers, as well as family caregivers.
Both bills reflect broader federal policymaker interest in formalizing more assistance for direct care workers, especially those that work in home and community-based settings, including home health and hospice. The general momentum amongst lawmakers has been catalyzed by President Biden’s call for a $400 billion investment in HCBS services and workforce, components of which are now actively being considered for inclusion in any forthcoming major reconciliation legislative package later in the year.
Like its House counterpart, the bill would award grants to states or other eligible entities for initiatives to build, retain, train, and otherwise promote the direct care workforce. Unlike the House bill, the Senate legislation would include grants not just for frontline care staff, but also for managerial or supervisory positions, an important addition given that there is a shortage amongst the home care leadership pipeline in addition to the challenges facing the direct care workforce.
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