Caregiver pushing senior female sitting on wheelchair. Mid adult nurse is with disabled senior female. They are in bedroom at home.
(Credit: Morsa Images / Getty Images)

The US Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living, which includes the Administration on Aging, has awarded a five-year grant totaling more than $6 million to establish a national center to expand and strengthen the country’s direct care workforce.

The initiative, according to the ACL, will provide technical assistance to states and service providers and facilitate collaboration with stakeholders to improve recruitment, retention, training and professional development of direct care workers in home care and hospice settings.

“The shortage of direct care workers has become a national crisis and a serious civil rights issue,” ACL Acting Administrator Alison Barkoff said in a statement. “Increasing numbers of people with disabilities and older adults who want to live in the community … are unable to get the services they need to do so.”

Led by the National Council on Aging, partners in the effort include the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, ADvancing States, PHI, the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration, the National Alliance for Caregiving, Lincoln University Paula J. Carter Center on Minority Health and Aging, the Green House Project, Social Policy Research Associates and Housing Innovations.

The national Direct Care Workforce Capacity Building Center will serve as a hub, providing tools, resources and training to assist state systems and service providers and to support the development and coordination of policies and programs that contribute to a stable, robust direct care workforce, the ACL said. 

The center will support stakeholders in tackling key issues affecting recruiting and retention, including poor wages, lack of benefits and limited opportunities for career advancement and professional recognition.