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Federal Agencies on Aging - Senior Corps

developmental service program community foster

The Corporation for National Service (Senior Corps) was created in 1993 to further the involvement of Americans in strengthening their communities. It merged the activities of two predecessor agencies, ACTION and the Commission on National and Community Service. For two decades ACTION administered VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) and the three programs that comprise Senior Corps: the Senior Companion Program, the Foster Grandparent Program, and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP).

The Senior Companion Program's dual purpose is "to create part-time stipendiary volunteer community service opportunities for low income persons aged sixty and older and to provide supportive person-to person services to assist adults having exceptional needs developmental disabilities, or other special needs for companionship" (Koff and Park, p. 265). Senior Companions can serve twenty hours per week and can receive a stipend based on 1,044 hours of service annually.

Responsibility for the Foster Grandparent Program was transferred from AoA to ACTION in 1971 and to Senior Corps in 1993. Foster grandparents must be fifty-five or older, no longer be in the regular workforce, and have no limitations that would affect their work with children. These older volunteers work with children (up to age twenty-one) in a variety of community and educational settings.

RSVP primarily involves retired professionals, giving them a chance to employ their skills on behalf of local service organizations. They must be available on a regular basis and over age fifty-five; they receive no stipend.

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