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Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, & Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act Advisory Council

 Related news: Executive Order Expands Access to Community Living Services, Supports Family Caregivers

“I know that we will create a better future for our American families because we will do it with love, understanding, experience and without a doubt with the grit and determination that every loved one brings to caregiving for their family.”  Secretary Xavier Becerra

2022 National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers

Strategy Cover Page

On September 21, 2022, the 2022 National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers was delivered to Congress. The Strategy includes nearly 350 actions the federal government will take to support family caregivers in the coming year and more than 150 actions that can be adopted at other levels of government and across the private sector to begin to build a system that ensures family caregivers – who provide the overwhelming majority of long-term care in the United States– have the resources they need to maintain their own health, well-being, and financial security while providing crucial support for others. The strategy was developed jointly by the advisory councils established by the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act and the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (SGRG) Act, with extensive input from family caregivers, the people they support and other stakeholders.

RAISE Family Caregiving Advisory Council

To support the development and execution of the strategy, the RAISE Family Caregivers Act directed the establishment of the RAISE Family Caregiving Advisory Council. The advisory council is charged with providing recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on effective models of family caregiving and support to family caregivers, as well as improving coordination across federal government programs.

The law specified that the advisory council must include up to 15 voting members who reflect the diversity of family caregivers and people who receive support, with at least one from each of the following constituencies:

  • Caregivers
  • Older adults who need long-term services and supports
  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Health care and social service providers
  • Providers of long-term services and supports
  • Employers
  • Paraprofessional workers
  • State and local officials
  • Accreditation bodies
  • Veterans 

In addition, the advisory council includes non-voting representatives from federal departments and agencies who play role in these issues.

Advisory Council Members

Non-federal members

Jesse Bracisco became paralyzed from the neck down at age 10. He relied on family members for care until age 18 when he hired individuals from the community to be his caregivers so that he could live independently. Without the support of his family and community, Bracisco believes he would have had to live in a nursing home. Bracisco’s experience has given him insight into the responsibilities of hiring and managing staff and the importance of receiving care in the home to remove barriers to independent and community living.

Jonathan Cottor, MBA, MPH, is CEO/founder of the National Center for Pediatric Palliative Care Homes. He previously cofounded Ryan House, a successful freestanding respite, palliative, and hospice care home in Phoenix, Arizona. Proud dad of a son diagnosed with a rare disease who lived for 17 years, Cottor focuses on championing support for medically fragile children and their families. While these families make up a small percentage of the population and often get missed in policy discussions and health care priorities, he believes that solutions developed to meet their needs can have a broader impact. Cottor’s experience as a caregiver to his son informed the support he gave during his father’s recent dementia and hospice journey.

Lynn Gall is the family caregiver support and lifespan respite programs manager for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. In addition to her professional experience working with caregivers, she was a long-distance caregiver for both parents and occasionally provided in-home care for them too. She recognizes that American families have changed a lot since the first caregiver support programs were designed. She says the 2022 National Strategy recognizes the needs of today’s caregivers and the importance of all sectors of society to work together to establish supports for the wide range of caregiving situations. This includes people caring for friends, grandchildren, or other relatives, or taking care of young and older family members simultaneously.

Felicia Gibson is an active fundraising and advocacy regional champion, former Paralysis Resource Center ambassador, and peer mentor volunteer for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. From her experience as a caregiver for her husband after he was shot, she has learned about spinal cord injuries and how much of themselves caregivers give to the service of others. She is excited to join the RAISE Family Caregiving Advisory Council to ensure that the concerns and needs of caregivers are known and addressed. 

J. Neil Henderson, M.S., Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Family Medicine & Biobehavioral Health at the University of Minnesota Medical School. A member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, he has worked to develop memory care units in long-term care settings and dementia support groups for African American and Spanish-speaking caregivers. He is the principal author of "The Savvy Caregiver in Indian Country’s Trainer’s Manual," published by the National Indian Council on Aging. He feels the RAISE Act provides an exciting window of opportunity to impact policy and law affecting caregiver knowledge, support, and health maintenance. 

Sharon L. McDaniel, Ph.D., Ed.D., MPA is the founder, president, and CEO of A Second Chance, a kinship care organization. She grew up in foster care and was a kinship caregiver for her niece and great-niece. She is a lifelong learner who brings her “intellectual curiosity” to the table. She looks forward to working with fellow council members to advance effective public policy that will lead to sustained and increased well-being for kinship caregivers.

Daniel Murphy, PMP, is a U.S. Army veteran and general manager of software and marketplace at The Helper Bees, a technology company that focuses on technology for older adults. Adopted and raised by his grandparents, Murphy saw the challenges of aging and its implications for families first-hand at a very young age. As a teenager, he was his grandmother’s companion while his aunts and uncles helped her with activities like managing finances, making health care decisions, etc. He looks forward to collaborating with federal decisionmakers to solve the challenges faced by family caregivers. 

Denise Myler lives in Ammon, Idaho, and works as a “disabled advocate.” She has been a member of the Idaho Caregivers Alliance for seven years. She is a former caregiver to her mother and has also received care from family, friends, and a direct care worker. She has worked with many organizations and committees, including the Muscular Dystrophy Coordination Committee, Idaho Caregiver Alliance the Southeastern Idaho Family Caregiver Navigator Advisory Committee, Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia Alliance, Consortium for Idahoans with Disabilities, and Our Care Can’t Wait Coalition, which is working to improve the direct care workforce shortage in the state. 

Nancy C. Richey, B.A., was the first statewide coordinator of the Pennsylvania Office of Developmental Programs involvement in the National Community of Practice: Supporting Families Across the Lifespan. She is a council member and former council chair of the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council. The mother of a young adult son who has autism and an intellectual disability, she has advocated for decades for equality and acceptance. As a caregiver to her parents and mother-in-law, she found nothing more important than supporting those she loves. She is grateful for the spotlight RAISE is putting on the importance of supporting family caregivers more intentionally and meaningfully.

Gloria J. Sanchez has worked with older adults for the past 25 years through various organizations and chairs the Senior Advisory Committee in the City of Menifee, CA. She spent more than 15 years in the role of primary caregiver for loved ones. In each case, from diagnosis to death, Sanchez says, “My loved ones were the pilot, and I was their co-pilot.” She believes there is no greater honor than to be entrusted with the care of another human being. She is excited to serve with her fellow council members, who share the same passion and commitment to recognize and meet the needs of family caregivers throughout the nation.  

Kezia Scales, Ph.D., vice president of research & evaluation, PHI, is a researcher studying the vital role and contributions of direct care workers in the current policy and practice context. She is a family caregiver for her father in addition to being a mother, stepmother, and step-grandmother. She brings to the council expertise on the paid direct care workforce and commitment to strengthening that workforce as an essential step toward creating a caregiving system that values all those who provide and receive care.

Deborah Stone-Walls, M.C., has more than 30 years experience as a direct service provider and administrator of programs serving grandparents, kinship caregivers, and family caregivers of all ages. Her grandparents and other family members helped care for her as a child, and she has provided care to her grandparents, parents, and a grandchild with a disability. She believes caregivers across the nation long for and deserve a coordinated national approach to building supports and services for caregivers. This is her second term on the council.

Jennifer L. Wolff, Ph.D., is an academic researcher at Johns Hopkins University who has devoted her professional career to the science of family caregiving research that informs evidence-based policies to better support family caregivers within systems of care delivery. She is the daughter, sister, mother, and friend of persons affected by chronic and disabling conditions. She is excited about the opportunity to contribute to translating the 2022 National Strategy into meaningful change that benefits the lives of caregiving families.

Carol Zernial, M.A., executive director of the WellMed Charitable Foundation, has worked in the field of aging for 30 years and was a caregiver for her mother and her older sister. She currently travels regularly as the primary caregiver for her 93-year-old father who lives 500 miles away. Her personal experience as a working caregiver has strengthened her interest in government and workplace policy changes to expand options and support for caregivers. As a professional, she works to lift the voices of caregivers, those receiving care, and others who are supporting the implementation of the National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers. This is her second term on the council.

Federal members

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) 

Administration for Children and Families (ACF) 
Liliana Chakrabarti  

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 
Greta Kilmer, M.S.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) 
Jodie Sumeracki; Melissa L. Harris (Alternate) 

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 
Kathryn (Katie) Capanna; Diane Mitchell, M.D. (Alternate) 

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) 
Joan Weiss, Ph.D., R.N., CRNP, FAAN 

Indian Health Service 
Jolie Crowder, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CCM; Michelle Archuleta (Alternate) 

National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Institute on Aging (NIA) 
Melissa S. Gerald, Ph.D. 

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) 
Helen Lamont, Ph.D. 

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) 
Jennifer Anne Bishop, ScD, MPH

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) 
Rosemary Payne, MSN, R.N. 

Jan Newsome 

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)  
Lisa Schifferle, J.D.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 
Courtenay Simmons 

U.S. Department of Education (ED) 
Carmen Sanchez 

U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) 
Sarah J. Glynn, Ph.D.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) 
Margaret (Meg) Kabat, M.S.W.

RAISE Family Caregivers Act

The RAISE Family Caregivers Act, which became law on Jan. 22, 2018, directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop a national family caregiving strategy. The strategy will identify actions that communities, providers, government, and others are taking and may take to recognize and support family caregivers, and will include:

  • Promoting greater adoption of person- and family-centered care in all healthcare and long-term service and support settings, with the person and the family caregiver at the center of care teams
  • Assessment and service planning (including care transitions and coordination) involving care recipients and family caregivers
  • Information, education, training supports, referral, and care coordination
  • Respite options
  • Financial security and workplace issues

Full Statute - RAISE Family Caregivers Act  

Resource and Dissemination Center

With support from The John A. Hartford Foundation, the National Academy of State Health Policy (NASHP) created the RAISE Act Family Caregiver Resource and Dissemination Center to:

  • Develop family caregiving resources for state and federal policymakers and other stakeholders;
  • Provide support to the council and its subcommittee member as they craft policy recommendations;
  • Convene experts and thought leaders to provide perspectives and expertise to the council; and
  • Support states as they develop policies to address family caregiver issues.

Previous Publications

Initial Report to Congress

On September 22, 2021, the RAISE Family Caregiving Advisory Council released its initial report to Congress. This report outlines the challenges faced by family caregivers, federal programs currently available to support them, and provides 26 recommendations for better supporting family caregivers. The recommendations will form the foundation of the National Family Caregiving Strategy, which will include action steps to increase recognition and support for family caregivers.

Advisory Council Adopts Recommendations

On November 18, 2020, the RAISE Family Caregiving Advisory Council adopted twenty-six recommendations aimed at establishing a national approach to addressing the needs of family caregivers of all ages and circumstances.

RAISE Family Caregiving Advisory Council Report: Progress Toward a National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers 

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Last modified on 01/18/2024

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