Kristen Cloutier
Representative | Lewiston, ME

ARP: Lewiston ME, Recognizes Work of Caregivers

Idea Category: Equity & Opportunity, Jobs and Entrepreneurship | Funding Source: American Rescue Plan

The work of caregivers can often be a labor of love. And all too often, that work is unpaid labor. One study estimates that, in 2017, Maine residents provided 152 million hours of unpaid care, worth $2.2 billion. State Rep. Kristen Cloutier (D-Lewiston) spearheaded legislation to address the issue. As part of the state’s plan to use American Rescue Plan funds, Maine will allocate $5.1 million to implement a Family Caregiver Grant pilot program.

The funding will increase the number of families served by the Respite Care Fund, alleviate costs associated with providing in-home care of an adult, and provide a family caregiver grant to increase economic security for family caregivers. Part of the funding will provide $2,000 annual grants to caregivers who do not otherwise receive payment for caring for a person. “This issue is personal for me. I was a family caregiver until my mom passed away in 2018 from Alzheimer’s disease,” Cloutier said. “It is time we finally recognize caregiving as the valuable work that it is. The Family Caregiver Grant Pilot Program is an important step in providing caregivers with the financial support they need and deserve, and I am so grateful that we will be able to use federal relief funds to run this pilot program.”


In continuing to build a robust support network for workers, Representative Kristen Cloutier championed another bill that created the Strengthening Maine’s Workforce Program, funded by ARP dollars. This program will provide $3.2 million in grants to 9 adult education programs focused on addressing educational and workforce gaps and will provide new opportunities for Mainers disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. The program will partner with education partners and employers in industries in need of workers and provide workforce training as well as English language acquisition services.

More Idea’s From Kristen Cloutier

Paid Family and Medical Leave Policy for Maine

Idea Category: Child Care, Equity & Opportunity | Funding Source: ARP