Imagine an online platform to connect families and individuals to the care support they need but with a fierce commitment to advocate for care workers so they can provide the best care possible for those who need it. That, essentially is Carina in a nutshell.
On Carina (carina.org), families, individuals and providers can meet and discuss opportunities for support. It’s an easy, mobile-friendly website where individuals can find verified, trained and available care when needed, such as home care for seniors and people with disabilities and child care for working families. Regardless of income, anyone who needs care can find what they need with resources such as child care vouchers, Medicaid home care support, and other subsidy programs.
Carina is committed to bringing unionized work to more caregivers by working closely with labor unions. All care professionals on Carina are represented by a union so they get the support training and benefits they need to support their family and be successful on the job. Carina acknowledges the incredible work labor unions and their members have done to uplift working people and fight racial injustice.
“It’s a really easy system to figure out and navigate,” said Patrick, a caregiver from Puyallup, WA. “It really helped me put myself out there and it was a lot faster than a referral agency.”
For Patrick, Carina is more than a site for job search. It’s an online platform that enables him to connect with clients he can share interests and foster friendships with, which makes the job easier.
He had been looking for a new client for several weeks before he updated his Carina profile. Within one day, he received three interview requests, one of which was from Jeannie. They met and connected immediately.
Since then, Patrick has been by Jeannie’s side. He helps her around the house and works with her property manager to keep things on track. They love to garden together and have a few projects lined up for the spring and summer. And often they simply sit and talk with Patrick listening while Jeannie shares stories about her life.
They both have the same photo on display in their homes. In it they are standing close together, with big smiles. In fact, their smiles and laughter extend far beyond a picture frame – this has been an everyday occurrence for the past 15 months.
It’s stories like this that motivate the staff at Carina to create a platform that makes a difference. Carina believes that providing good care to children, older adults, and people with disabilities is a team effort. By being empathetic to users’ experience, Carina can take action to make life a little easier.
“When our daycare closed due to COVID-19, we turned to Carina,” said Danielle. “We found a provider quite quickly and we love the atmosphere with her.”
The primary users of the site are working families, individuals or older adults looking for care. They may have heard about Carina from their union, employer, from a state resource list, or through Carina’s advertising to promote care options for families.
“After searching for three years, I had great luck finding the perfect match for our situation,” said Linda who heard about Carina via word of mouth. “She’s a great match for my disabled grandson’s needs and his personality. He loves her and trusts her.”
The platform aims to increase access and ease of use for women, people of color, people with disabilities, low-income families and all marginalized communities who are most impacted by our nation’s broken care system.
The Carina story started when home care workers joined together as a labor union to advocate for better working conditions and wages in 2002. In 2015, unionized home care workers in WA (SEIU 775) fought for and won a new benefit in their labor contract. With the investment from these workers and the State of Washington, Carina was created with the commitment to a more just and humane world.
Carina envisions a care economy that strengthens our communities by respecting and supporting workers, families and people who need care. For more information, visit carina.org.