The Maryland Commission on Caregiving was originally established in 2001 as the Maryland Caregivers Support Coordinating Council. The Council was charged with identifying the needs and challenges faced by informal family caregivers caring for those across the lifespan. The purpose was to advocate for and empower caregivers and make recommendations for effective public policies and the coordination of services.
The Council consisted of 17 members appointed by the Governor, representing state agencies, family caregivers, service providers, and advocacy groups. The Council’s statute required five family caregiver members. The Maryland Department of Human Services (DHS) provided staff to the Council.
A task force on long-term supports and family caregiving, co-chaired by Senator Delores Kelley and Delegate Angela Angel, recommended that the Council be strengthened by designating a Commission to be created in 2016. The Maryland legislature passed Senate Bill 216 during the 2017 legislative session to rename the Council, the Maryland Commission on Caregiving. The legislation was signed by Governor Larry Hogan on April 11, 2017 and took effect on October 1, 2017.
The Commission is comprised of 19 commissioners including a legislator from the House of Delegates and one from the state Senate. In addition, three commissioners are appointed as family caregivers to ensure that the “Voice of the Caregiver” is fully represented.
The Commission’s Legislative Mandates are to:
1.Solicit and gather concerns of caregivers
2.Develop and distribute to interested parties a handbook of current respite care and other family caregiver services available in the State
3.Review successful respite care programs in other states
4.Develop a model family caregiver support program that incorporates best practices from existing programs in this and other states
5.Provide ongoing analysis of best practices in family caregiver support programs in this and in other states
6.Coordinate activities of existing and proposed family caregiver support services among State and local units
7.Research available funding sources and explore possibilities for additional funds
8.Identify unmet needs and priorities for additional funds
9.Monitor and implement the Commission’s recommendations
Who Are Caregivers?
Caregivers provide a family member, friend or neighbor with supportive care when they are unable to care for themselves. Caregiving may include helping an adult or child with an illness or disability accomplish activities of daily living, such as walking or getting dressed, household chores, or money management. It may also include coordinating outside services, and medical care. Other support includes driving the individual to appointments or visiting regularly with a concern for their personal safety and well-being. .
What do Caregivers Need?
As a “Voice of the Caregiver”, the Commission advocates for the needs of the informal caregiver.
In recent surveys, caregivers overwhelmingly proclaimed the need for respite services. Respite is essential to restoring the mental and physical well-being of a caregiver, which is beneficial to the care receiver too.
We believe caregiver needs vary from time to time, so we want to hear from you. If you are a caregiver, please share with the Commission your needs and concerns.
Maryland Department of Human Services
Social Services Administration
311 W. Saratoga Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Contact: Dorinda Adams, Staff to Commission