Bill would assist grandparents raising children in the wake of opioid epidemic
A coalition of Midwestern and Northeastern senators from some of the states hardest hit by the opioid epidemic want to open additional resources to grandparents and other relatives who have taken on child rearing duties in the wake of the addiction crisis.
Citing the needs of more than 100,000 children in Pennsylvania now being raised by grandparents and other relatives, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, joined Sens.Sherrod Brown, D-OH, Tammy Baldwin, D-WI and Maggie Hassan, D-NH, to cosponsor the Grandfamilies Act.
A Casey spokesman said the law would increase access to Social Security child’s benefits and the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families cash assistance program. It also would provide incentives for states to create temporary guardianship laws for grandparents who need to step in quickly to help a grandchild and provide support for housing specifically provided for grandparents raising grandchildren.
The new measure comes in the wake of the passage last summer of the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act, a law that set up resource centers for grandparents thrust back into parenting roles.
Casey said he continues to hear pleas for help from grandparents across Pennsylvania trying to pick of the pieces of lives shattered by opioid addiction.
“I believe the federal government needs to do more. This is why I introduced the Grandfamilies Act to help relieve some of the financial burden many grandparents face as they take on the unexpected challenge of parenting a second time around,” Casey said.
Deb Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Deb at 724-850-1209, [email protected] or via Twitter .