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Donna Benton and Sandi Fitzpatrick selected to lead legislature’s caregiving advisory group

 February 3, 2017 – The California Task Force on Family Caregiving appointed Donna Benton and Sandi Fitzpatrick as chair and co-chair to help lead the task force in its work making policy recommendations to improve caregiver supports in the state.

Benton is a research associate professor at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology and was a postdoctoral fellow at USC/Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center. Benton is the director of the USC Family Caregiver Support Center /Los Angeles Caregiver Resource Center and has over 30 years of experience working with families and the community to help improve services and support to persons with dementia. She has served as a commissioner on the California Commission on Aging (CCOA) and served as chair of the legislative sub-committee for many years.

Fitzpatrick is the executive director of the California Commission on Aging, which serves as the principal advocate for more than six million older Californians. Since 2004, she’s launched several Commission-led efforts, including the Senior Center Initiative, Elder Justice Initiative and Aging Women & Poverty Collaborative. In 2005, she worked with the governor’s office to coordinate California’s White House Conference on Aging delegation and attended the conference as a national policy committee voting delegate. Fitzpatrick is a member of the California Elder Justice Coalition and an honorary board member of the California Foundation on Aging.

The task force will deliver a report in July 2018, providing the legislature with recommendations on how to improve services and support for family caregivers. They submitted an interim report on January 1, 2017. It is available on the task force website.

The task force’s priority focus areas include:

  • Integrated approach to care management
  • Comprehensive array & continuum of services throughout the state
  • Caregiver compensation
  • Data on caregivers and services
  • Access to affordable & accessible services
  • Education and training

In addition, the team agreed that any recommendations would stress the importance of person- and family-centered care, as well as culturally relevant and sensitive services based on the diverse needs of caregivers.

About the California Task Force on Family Caregiving

The California Task Force on Family Caregiving was created by the California Legislature in September 2015 through Assembly Concurrent Resolution 38. The goals of the Task Force are to examine challenges faced by California’s family caregivers, review supports and services currently available to caregivers, identify opportunities to improve caregiver supports in the state, and ultimately make a set of policy recommendations to the Legislature. Family caregivers, are defined as the spouses, partners, adult children, other relatives, and friends and neighbors who provide care and support to adults with disabilities and/or older adults.

The USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, with funding from AARP and Archstone Foundation, is supporting the work of the 12-member assembly and Senate-appointed team by providing substantive information and administrative assistance.


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