There are over 1.4 million youth caregivers from age 8-18 in the U.S. This “Hidden Population” suffers from a systemic lack of support from their schools and communities which can have dire consequences for a youth’s ability to succeed. In 2006, the Gates Foundation issued a report, The Silent Epidemic, which showed that 22% of high school dropouts leave school to care for family members. In 2015, after multiple encounters with youth caregivers, the Board of Directors of Caregivers Outreach Mentorship Empowerment (C.O.M.E) decided to expand beyond its dynamic work with adult family caregivers and establish the Youth Caregivers Initiative (YCI). Prior to 2015, there was only one other organization in the U.S. solely dedicated to providing support to youth caregivers, the American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY). However, C.O.M.E. understood that there needed to be a multifaceted approach to bring the Youth Caregivers out of the shadows and into the light to finally receive the support they need, with that the first youth caregiver's initiative was born, Students Helping and Assisting Relative with Knowledge and Skills (SHARKS) Program. 

YCI History/Purpose


The Youth Caregiver Initiative focuses it’s work in three Programmatic areas with a goal of making substantive and far reaching impact in the Youth Caregiving Landscape:  

  1. The SHARKS Program- Direct Student Services

  2. Advocacy/Education

    • Our 2019-2020 legislative agenda will be available Spring 2020.

    • Want to host a Youth Caregiver Training at your school or business? Contact Us. 

  3. Research and Coalition Building

COME would like to partner with schools to create conditions where school engage youth caregivers with programming that support their health and well-being. We also want to partner with and educate healthcare professionals and provide resources and tools to better service youth caregivers. To do this, COME needs to have data to both substantiate the need and develop resources for the population. 


       Our 2020 Research Agenda include:

  • Assessing the need for youth caregivers support in the NYC Public schools. 

  • Assessing the effect of caring on a youth’s psychological, physical, emotion, social and academic status.


     Our 2020 Coalition Building Targets include: 

  • Partnering with NYC public schools to increase the awareness of the needs of youth caregivers and providing Youth Caregivers with support services that will have a positive effect on their physical, psychological, social and academic wellbeing.  

  • Partnering with healthcare organization to educate the professional staff on how to recognize youth caregivers and provide resources in support of youth caregivers

  • Creating a community in both the education and healthcare space to advocate for policy, regulations and legislations in support of family caregivers.  





To bring awareness to the hidden
population of youth caregivers and provide youth caregivers with support services that will have a positive effect on
their academic, social, physical,
psychological and spiritual well-being.


To empower the "hidden population" of youth caregivers with the tools, resources, and the foundation of knowledge needed to successfully balance life as an adolescent, student & caregiver.


YCI  Learns !

YCI Has Fun !

YCI Gives Back !

Caregivers Outreach

Mentorship Empowerment, Inc.


Providing a Road Map for Caregivers