By Steven Lalich for Marin Department of Health and Human Services
November 22, 2022
The Marin Department of Health and Human Services and its Social Services Division is proud to recognize November as National Family Caregivers Month ─ a time to celebrate the contributions of all caregivers, including those participating in the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program.
“IHSS caregivers are part of the county’s long-term care system that provides in-home services with dedication and compassion to those in need. Their virtuous and selfless work commitment deserves our eternal recognition and praise,” said Kari Beuerman, director of Social Services for Marin HHS.
IHSS is a statewide program administered by the county under the direction of the California Department of Social Services. The IHSS program provides in-home assistance to eligible aged, blind, and disabled individuals receiving Medi-Cal benefits as an alternative to out-of-home care and enables recipients to remain safely in their own homes. There are more than 550,000 IHSS providers statewide, serving over 650,000 recipients. Marin County has approximately 1,800 relative and non-relative caregivers supporting about 2,100 IHSS clients. Fifty percent of those caregivers are adult children, domestic partners, grandparents, parents of adult or minor children, spouses, and other relatives.
IHSS provides a wide range of services to meet individual needs, including house cleaning, meal preparation, laundry, grocery shopping, dressing, feeding, grooming, bathing, and other personal care services to safeguard against injury. Paramedical services ─ skilled tasks a person would typically perform for themselves but for their functional limitations ─ are provided by IHSS care providers trained to provide paramedical services or tasks.
The Public Authority of Marin (PA Marin), a public agency established in 2002 by the county’s board of supervisors, works in partnership with Marin HHS to support the program. PA Marin recruits qualified IHSS care providers and matches them with care recipients so they can live healthier, safer, and more productive lives. In-home care costs approximately one-fifth of nursing home care, saving money and improving the quality of life for those receiving benefits.
The program pays IHSS care providers to provide supportive services for a home care recipient. Becoming an IHSS caregiver is quick and simple. The hours are flexible, providers can choose the cities where they want to work, training is free, health and dental insurance is available, and no caregiver experience is necessary. To become an IHSS provider, you must complete a provider orientation administered by the agency.
Dario Santiago, PA Marin’s executive director, said, “We work with low-income older adults and persons with disabilities who qualify for In-Home Supportive Services to remain independent and safe in their own homes. Most recipients served by the Public Authority live alone and, due to their functional limitations, would require placement in an institution if they didn’t have the support of an IHSS provider.”
IHSS recipients maintain self-determination and have the responsibility of an employer by hiring and supervising individual caregivers. PA Marin is the employer of record for IHSS care providers, establishes and maintains an up-to-date registry of workers, performs background checks, and facilitates training.
Most care providers are identified directly by care recipients and consist of their family members, friends, or privately arranged caregivers, while nearly 20 percent are selected from PA Marin’s registry. Currently, there are approximately 150 recipients without a caregiver in the IHSS program due to a 40 percent turnover rate of registry providers. Applications for new IHSS care providers, especially those who speak other languages, are now being accepted by PA Marin to fill care provider roles in West Marin and other locations throughout the county.
Care providers make an essential difference in people’s lives. They take pride in their work, giving to others with compassion and professionalism while gaining valuable experience in the caregiving profession. Provider Maria Azanon said, “Being a caregiver means I am of service to the clients of IHSS. I feel that my clients are part of my family.”
Want to become a care provider? Contact the Public Authority at (415) 499-1024 or email us at email@example.com. For In-Home Supportive Services program, please call the Marin County Information and Assistance line at (415) 473-4636 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.