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National Family Caregiver Support Program

The National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) provides grants to states and territories to fund various supports that help family and informal caregivers care for older adults in their homes for as long as possible.

The Purpose of the Program and How it Works

Established in 2000, the NFCSP provides grants to states and territories, based on their share of the population age 70 and over, to fund a range of supports that assist family and informal caregivers to care for their loved ones at home for as long as possible. (Note: Authorizing legislation is Section 371 of the Older Americans Act of 1965, as amended, Title IIIE)

NFCSP grantees provide five types of services:

  • information to caregivers about available services

  • assistance to caregivers in gaining access to the services

  • individual counseling, organization of support groups, and caregiver training

  • respite care; and

  • supplemental services, on a limited basis

These services work in conjunction with other state and community-based services to provide a coordinated set of supports. Studies have shown that these services can reduce caregiver depression, anxiety, and stress as well as enable caregivers to provide care longer, thereby avoiding or delaying the need for costly institutional care.

Eligible Program Participants

While the Aging Network has always been involved in meeting the needs of care recipients and caregivers, by creating the NFCSP, Congress explicitly recognized the important role that family caregivers occupy in our nation’s long-term services and supports system. As of the 2016 Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, the following specific populations of caregivers are eligible to receive services:

  • Adult family members or other informal caregivers age 18 and older providing care to individuals 60 years of age and older

  • Adult family members or other informal caregivers age 18 and older providing care to individuals of any age with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders

  • Older relatives (not parents) age 55 and older providing care to children under the age of 18; and

  • Older relatives, including parents, age 55 and older providing care to adults ages 18-59 with disabilities

Family caregivers present their unique needs and preferences for the types of programs and services they wish to receive at any given point in time. Further, available programs and services vary among states and communities. Fortunately, a number of national organizations and programs exist to inform and support program development and innovation. See resources and links below for additional information on research, technical assistance, and support for program development.

Data Show Extensive Services Provided to Caregivers

In FY 2014, the most recent year for which service data is available, more than 700,000 caregivers received services through the NFCSP. These services helped them to better manage caregiving responsibilities while ensuring their loved ones remained in the community for as long as possible. Service highlights include:

  • Access Assistance Services provided more than 1.3 million contacts to caregivers, helping them to locate services from a variety of private and voluntary agencies

  • Counseling and Training Services provided more than 100,000 caregivers with counseling, peer support groups, and training to help them cope with the stresses of caregiving

  • Respite Care Services were provided to more than 604,000 caregivers through nearly 6 million hours of temporary relief from caregiving responsibilities—at home or in an adult day care or institutional setting

Data from ACL’s most recent national survey of caregivers of older adult clients shows that:

  • Older Americans Act (OAA) services, including those provided through the NFCSP, are effective in helping caregivers keep their loved ones at home

  • Nearly 42 percent of caregivers report they have been providing care for 2-5 years while approximately 27 percent of family caregivers have been providing care for 5-10 years

  • 74 percent of caregivers of program clients report that services enabled them to provide care longer than would have been possible otherwise

  • 88 percent of caregivers reported that services helped them to be a better caregiver; and

  • Nearly 62 percent of caregivers indicated that without the services they received, the care recipient would be living in a nursing home

To obtain more information about the services caregivers received, visit the AGing, Independence, and Disability (AGID) Program Data Portal, an online query system based on ACL-related data files and surveys. It also includes population characteristics from the Census Bureau for comparison purposes. The system allows users to produce customized tables using a step-by-step process and then output results in print or spreadsheet form.

Funding History

Funding for Family Caregiver Support Services

during the past four fiscal years is as follows:

Fiscal Year Dollar Amount
FY 2013 $145,586,000
FY 2014 $145,586,000
FY 2015 $145,586,000
FY 2016 $150,586,000

Additional Resources for Caregivers 

Resources and Useful Links

Eldercare Locator

Are you a family caregiver in need of information or assistance? Are you interested in learning more about programs and services that may be of assistance to you or your loved one? The Eldercare Locator, a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging, is the first step to finding resources for older adults in any U.S. community. Just one phone call or website visit provides an instant connection to resources. The service links visitors to state and local Area Agencies on Aging and community-based organizations that serve older adults and their caregivers.

Family Caregiver Alliance - National Center on Caregiving

Established in 2001 as a program of the Family Caregiver Alliance, the National Center on Caregiving (NCC) works to advance the development of high-quality, cost-effective policies and programs for caregivers in every U.S. state. Uniting research, public policy and services, the NCC serves as a central source of information on caregiving and long-term care issues for policy makers, service providers, media, funders, and family caregivers throughout the country.

National Alliance for Caregiving

Established in 1996, The National Alliance for Caregiving is a nonprofit coalition of national organizations focusing on issues of family caregiving. Alliance members include grassroots organizations, professional associations, service organizations, disease-specific organizations, a government agency, and corporations.

The Alliance was created to conduct research, analyze policy, develop national programs, increase public awareness of family caregiving issues, strengthen state and local caregiving coalitions, and represent the U.S. caregiving community internationally. Recognizing that family caregivers provide important societal and financial contributions toward maintaining the well-being of those they care for, the Alliance's mission is to be an objective national resource aimed at improving the quality of life for families and care recipients.

Caregiver Action Network

Caregiver Action Network is the nation’s leading family caregiver organization working to improve the quality of life for the more than 90 million Americans who care for loved ones with chronic conditions, disabilities, disease, or the frailties of older age. CAN serves a broad spectrum of caregivers ranging from the parents of children with special needs to the families and friends of wounded soldiers. CAN is a nonprofit organization providing education, peer support, and resources to family caregivers nationwide free of charge.

Generations United

Generations United (GU) is the national membership organization dedicated to improving the lives of children, youth, and older people through intergenerational strategies, programs, and public policies. GU represents more than 100 national, state, and local organizations representing more than 70 million Americans. With its emphasis on public policy, advocacy and programming, GU has served as a resource for policymakers and the public on the economic, social, and personal imperatives of intergenerational cooperation.

The Brookdale Foundation Group—Relatives as Parents Program (RAPP)

Established in 1996 in response to a growing need for enhanced services and supports for grandparents raising grandchildren, The Brookdale Foundation Group established RAPP to encourage and promote the creation or expansion of services for grandparents and other relatives who are surrogate parents due to the absence of the parents. Currently, RAPP provides supportive services, primarily to relative caregivers caring for children outside the foster care system, through an extensive network of support groups.


This website was created by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Cooperative Extension System. Caregivers and advocates can access a wide range of information and materials designed to help them learn about and provide supportive services to family and relative caregivers. Topics include disaster preparedness, military families, grandparents raising grandchildren, housing, and nutrition. 


Last modified on 02/15/2023

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