Sponsors. Rosalynn Carter Institute (RCI) for Human Development, Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus, Johnson and Johnson, the Administration on Aging, and private donors.
Purpose. The RCI was formed in 1987 to promote the mental health and well-being of individuals, families, and professional caregivers; encourage effective caregiving practices; build public awareness of caregiving needs; and advance public and social policies that enhance caring communities. The RCI currently has several caregiver initiatives under way.
Description. RCI currently has two major initiatives for caregivers. The Johnson & Johnson Caregivers Program was developed in 2000, when Johnson & Johnson joined with RCI to create a signature program in caregiving. Through its Practice in Action component, the program awards grants of $25,000 to five programs per year that advance science and contribute to knowledge in caregiving.
Through its Science to Practice Initiative, the program convenes expert panels to consider caregiving issues related to their specialty areas. In 2002, four expert panels were convened to meet and develop monographs based on their areas of expertise, answering the questions "what is known?" and "what is needed?" in the field of caregiving. Finally, through Caring for You, Caring for Me, the program seeks to help caregivers to take better care of themselves while caring for an older relative.31
The second major RCI initiative is the CARE-NET project, funded by a grant from the AoA National Family Caregiver Support Program. The first goal of CARE-NET is to establish a network of caregiving communities, or CARE-NETs, within and among six of the Georgia Area Agencies on Aging, based on the model of two existing community coalitions, known as CARE-NET I and CARE-NET II. The second goal of the project is to develop a new Community Caregiving Capacity Index (CCCI) instrument to help communities assess their caregiving strengths and needs and, based on the assessment, develop an action plan for a coordinated, community-wide response to improve caregiving services.31
Results-to-Date. Under the Practice in Action Initiative, five grants were awarded in 2002. Winning proposals were (1) a school-based mental health program that engages parents of African-American and Latino-American children traumatized by violence, (2) a rural church-based program aimed at African-American caregivers of seniors with chronic conditions and/or physical disabilities, (3) a psycho educational support program for both family and professional caregivers of individuals with mental illness, (4) a program to engage and support Hispanic families/caregivers of individuals with mental illness, and (5) a peer-support and community health promotion program for breast cancer prevention and early detection.
The CARE-NET project has established six new CARE-NETs in Georgia and has developed the Community Caregiving Capacity Index, which currently is being used as an individualized assessment tool and integral part of the curriculum for the Caring for You, Caring for Me educational program for caregivers.
Next Steps. Grants will continue to be issued through the Practice in Action Program to help grantees appropriately address the challenges of developing, maintaining, expanding, and replicating successful caregiving interventions. Results from CARE-NET project--including information on the development and testing of successful approaches to support family caregivers--will be disseminated to the community at large. The Caring for You, Caring for Me educational program for caregivers will continue to be evaluated and refined.
Ronda C. Tally, Ph.D., MHP
RCI Executive Director
Rosalynn Carter Institute for Human Development
800 Wheatley Street
Americus, GA 31719
Phone: (229) 928-1234
Fax: (229) 931-2663