Kupuna Caregivers Program Funding Bill Moves Through Senate
A joint hearing of the Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health Committee, and the Senate Human Services Committee voted unanimously on Monday, Feb. 7, 2018, to pass Senate Bill 2988, a bill to fund the groundbreaking Kupuna Caregivers program for the coming year and offer support to hundreds of caregiving families in Hawai‘i.
Dozens of community members submitted their testimony in strong support of this bill, citing the many ways it will help families and small businesses provide quality care for our kūpuna while also supporting our local economy.
In testimony offering strong support of the bill, Hawaii Advocacy Director Pedro Haro said, “Kupuna Caregivers has been remarkably popular since enrollment began in December, and we are counting on the legislature to fund the program at a level that meets the demonstrated need in our communities.”
The Kupuna Caregivers Act passed in July 2017, making Hawai‘i the first state in the nation to offer money to caregivers who also work full-time.
Under the act, full-time working caregivers can earn up to $70 per day to help ease financial stress so they won’t have to give up their jobs.
Since the Kupuna Caregivers program was enacted into law, hundreds of people have applied for its services.
Sen. Jill Tokuda, the lead sponsor of the bill and vice chair of the Senate Committee on Consumer Protection and Health, said, “It’s essential that we build on the momentum that was created last year when Hawai‘i was the first state in the nation to put in place real support for caregivers. The $4M in this bill will go a long way to ensure support for seniors and their families statewide.”
Sen. Josh Green, chair of the Senate Human Services Committee, said, “Funding Kupuna Caregivers will help our families all across the state. It’s so much better for us to provide support to help people stay in their homes, rather than seeing people move to nursing homes.”
Senate Bill 2988 now moves to the Senate Ways and Means Committee for a hearing.