Middle aged male caregiver embracing an older woman in a wheelchair from behindOne of the main objectives of the Family Support Research and Training Center (FSRTC) is to identify promising practices in family support services. Currently, there is limited nationally representative data available about family caregivers and family support services, let alone datasets that allow for state tracking and comparisons. Improvements would allow us to identify promising practices and assess how states are doing in supporting families. To that end, on November 10th, 2015, the FSRTC convened a panel of experts and researchers in aging and disability from across the nation in Washington D.C. They examined an inventory of existing data sources in order to determine the best methods for creating a state family support data collection system across aging and disabilities. Of course, much work was done ahead of time to identify and summarize relevant datasets.

It is exciting to announce that the research team (Joe Caldwell, PI; Katie Arnold, Co-PI; and research assistants Evelyn Ingargiola and Randa Abdelrahim) has published the findings of that meeting in this report: Recommendations to Improve Data Collection to Monitor, Track, and Evaluate State Approaches to Family Support Services. The report identifies three indicators to monitor, track and evaluate family support services: demographics of the caregiving situation, the impact on families, and indicators to assess family support at the state level. It also details recommendations for improvements that could be made to individual national and state datasets. Moving forward, the implementation of the recommendations would substantially aid researchers and policy makers in improving family support services across the nation in years to come. Click here for a copy of the report.

This report was issued jointly by FSRTC and National Council on Aging (NCOA)