Family caregivers to rally at Adult Foster Care Awareness Day

Jeanne Leyden is a registered nurse and director of a non-profit Adult Foster Care provider

Adult Foster Care (AFC) is a life-changing program for thousands of family caregivers across the Commonwealth. If you appreciate the vital work caregivers do, please consider joining us at Beacon Hill for Adult Foster Care Awareness Day 2019.

AFC is a MassHealth-funded program that supports the live-in caregivers who meet the daily needs of older adults and people with disabilities who can no longer live alone. It provides a tax-free stipend and ongoing training for caregivers. And most importantly, it enables people to receive the care they need at home.

As director of an AFC program for 19 years, I’ve witnessed the amazing impact this program can have countless times. Since AFC is funded by MassHealth, it’s vital that lawmakers are aware of this too, and that is really the central goal of Adult Foster Care Awareness Day.

Organized by the Massachusetts Council for Adult Foster Care, the gathering will feature updates from advocates and family caregiver stories. It’s both a celebration of the work family caregivers do, and a reminder of the many challenges they face.

Many advocates are also planning to meet with state legislators, to discuss what AFC provides and what it means to the more than 12,000 Massachusetts residents in the program.

The legislature traditionally has been very supportive of AFC, but the program was hit with unprecedented budget cuts two years ago. Our goal is to ensure AFC remains strong going forward.

We see the program as a wise investment of state resources. AFC routinely saves MassHealth money—costing $50-85 per day, instead of $125-250 for nursing home care. The number of nursing facility days covered by MassHealth has dropped by 37% since 2000, due in large part to community-based programs like AFC.

The AFC program at Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) provides help for more than 250 families across the greater Boston area. We’re proud to participate in Adult Foster Care Awareness Day and we hope to see you there. If not, please consider calling your local state representative and state senators to let them know you support AFC.

Adult Foster Care Awareness Day 2019 will take place on Thursday April 4, from 9-2 at Nurse’s Hall at the Statehouse. The event is free, but the Massachusetts Council for Adult Foster Care asks that participants register by calling Terry Cook at 413-733-1240 ext. 119 or online.

Jeanne Leyden is director of Adult Family Care, a non-profit program at Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services that supports in-home caregivers across the Greater Boston, North Shore, and Merrimack Valley areas. For more information, visit or call 617-628-2601.