Source: United States Senator for New Hampshire Maggie Hassan
May 25, 2019
WASHINGTON — To continue combatting the devastating effects of the opioid crisis on families, Senator Maggie Hassan recently joined in introducing a bill to help ease the financial burden of grandparents who are raising grandchildren. The Grandfamilies Act builds on the success of legislation that was signed into law last year to help grandparents easily find the resources they need. The Grandfamilies Act is also cosponsored by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).
“Grandparents are increasingly taking on the role of primary caregivers for their grandchildren, something we are seeing in New Hampshire largely as a result of the fentanyl and opioid epidemic,” said Senator Hassan. “We must ensure that these grandparents have the resources they need to provide the necessary care to their grandchildren. By providing grandfamilies with greater access to resources like Social Security children benefits and more streamlined supports and services, this legislation is vital to those efforts.”
“All across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, grandparents caring for grandchildren continue to tell me that they need more help,” said Senator Casey. “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. I will continue to the fight to ensure that grandparents who are doing this brave work have what they need.”
“This effort is especially personal to me as I was raised by my maternal grandparents. I know the challenges that family caregivers face, so I’m working to provide much-needed resources and assistance to family caregivers, including grandparents who step up to care for grandchildren,” said Senator Baldwin. “This legislation will support grandfamilies and break down barriers that make it difficult for grandparents and other relative caregivers to access the support they need.”
The Grandfamilies Act would help provide grandparents with additional resources to care for their families’ needs. The legislation would increase access to Social Security child’s benefits and the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families cash assistance program, incentivize states to create temporary guardianship laws for grandparents who need to step in quickly to help a grandchild, provide support for housing specifically provided for grandparents raising grandchildren.
In July 2018, The Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act became law. The new law creates a one-stop-shop of resources to help grandparents raising grandchildren address the challenges they may face, such as navigating the school system, planning for their families’ future, addressing mental health issues for themselves and their grandchildren and building social and support networks. In Pennsylvania, more than 100,000 children are being raised by grandparents or other relatives, and experts say this number is rising as the opioid epidemic devastates communities.
The Grandfamilies Act is supported by Generations United, American Academy of Pediatrics, Children’s Defense Fund, LeadingAge, National Council on Aging, National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, and Social Security Works.