As we get older, our need for care increases. With the federal government locked in an ideological battle over the future of safety net programs we all need for care, states are on the front lines of meeting the care needs of their people. State governments should take innovative and comprehensive approaches to support those who need and provide care.
Caring Across created the 2018 Care Report Cards to highlight how six states – Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, and Rhode Island – score on thirty critical indicators across three constituent categories: Care Recipient, Family Caregiver, and Direct Care Workforce. These indicators are the main building blocks for the universal care necessary to meet the needs of the Caring Majority. Indicators include accessibility of long-term care and support services, affordability of childcare, and strength of worker representation. The report cards are a tool for advocates, community organizations, and state legislators who are working towards a better vision of care for our country.
A state that received a positive grade across the three categories would be well on its way to ensuring that care works for everyone who needs and provides it. However, the highest grade any state received in any constituent category was a 6/10, or a D, and most states scored well below that across all constituent categories. For example, Iowa scored 1/10 for its supports for direct care professionals, despite direct care work being the largest single profession in the state. These report cards make it abundantly clear that these states, and our nation as a whole, have a long way to go when it comes to ensuring that care is affordable, accessible, and promotes dignity for all.
And yet, these report cards are not only a snapshot of where we are, but a jumping off point to where we can and should be. They show a path forward for committed lawmakers to take, in order to create a society that ensures everyone can get the care they need when they need it, while supporting the dignity of those who provide it.
Note: We also developed a report card for Maine, but are currently adapting it to be a White Paper to address the state’s Universal Home Care program on the ballot this fall. This post will be updated when it is complete.