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Senate Approves Vitale Bill to Establish Caregiver Support Task Force

Vitale Session

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Joseph F. Vitale that would establish the “New Jersey Caregiver Task Force” to evaluate caregiver support services in the state and provide recommendations for the improvement and expansion of such services was approved by the Senate today.

“Caregiving can take a serious emotional and physical toll that often leads to a series of negative consequences in the caregivers’ own lives,” said Senator Vitale (D-Middlesex). “A lack of sufficient support services forces many caregivers to either miss work, or quit their jobs in order to effectively provide services to those that need it. Caregivers can lose as much as $659,000 in wages, pensions and Social Security over the course of their career. We need to formulate the right kind of support for caregivers now, so that when the number of New Jersey’s adults needing assistance with daily activities doubles in 2020, we will be prepared to help.”

The task force would consist of 11 members including the Commissioner of Human Services, seven designees from advocacy groups and three instate caretakers that would be appointed by the governor.

The bill, S-959, would require the task force to identify caregiver support services already available, survey caregivers, their demographics, their experiences as caregivers and the existing support services they use.

The task force would also receive testimony from caregivers regarding the type and frequency of tasks performed, feasibility of delegating tasks to other caregivers or to medical personnel, sufficiency of caregiver training programs, caregiving costs, sufficiency of financial support services and respite care services and any other topic relevant to the task force’s responsibilities.

The task force would be required to meet within 30 days of the appointment of its members, and to prepare and submit a report to the governor and legislature no later than 12 months after the task force is organized summarizing the task force’s findings and offering recommendations for changes to supplement, expand or improve the existing caregiver support services available in the state.

The task force would dissolve 30 days after the report is submitted.

The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 40-0.