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ERIC Number: ED346986
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Sharing the Caring: Rethinking Current Policies.
Family Matters, n31 p40-55 Apr 1992
This article presents an argument for reforming Australian public policy in favor of social care, rather than family, residential, or community care, for the elderly, sick, and disabled. After noting policy assumptions that families are the focus of caring and women are the natural caregivers, the paper describes changes in Australian family structures that militate in favor of policy reform. Trends related to marriage and childbearing, women in the labor force, family incomes, the aging population, legislation, and employment practices are analyzed. The paper then considers the impact of financial cutbacks on community care. The terminology of "care" and "caring" is analyzed, and hidden assumptions and connotations of this terminology are discussed. The paper then provides estimates of the numbers of Australians with particular needs for care and offers evidence that women are the main caregivers for children, the disabled, and the elderly. Discussion then turns to the caring role, covering such topics as the caregivers' need for specialized knowledge and instrumental and emotional support; stress levels; the hierarchy of public support; and research needs. Costs of care are considered next, with an emphasis on the indirect social costs of the enormous contributions that families are required to make to care provision. Next, Australia's Home and Community Care (HACC) program, the main funding source for caregiver support, is described, and a care plan linking HACC agencies with informal sources of care is suggested. New directions for care are recommended with respect to community support for caregivers, housing, research needs, empowerment, employer roles, and new family roles. Finally, a social caring model that would ensure nationwide availability of adequate public services is outlined. (AC)
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Australian Inst. of Family Studies, Melbourne.
Identifiers - Location: Australia