In mid-June the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act (S. 1091), which would create a one-stop-shop of resources to support grandparents raising grandchildren.
The House-passed bill includes minor changes that must be cleared by a quick, procedural vote by the Senate before being signed into law by the president.
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.
Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) co-authored the bill last year, with Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), after an Aging Committee hearing during which witnesses testified about why grandparents need easy access to information about resources available to assist them.
“Grandparents are increasingly stepping in to raise their grandchildren due to the opioid crisis. These grandparents are faced with challenges such as delaying retirement, navigating school systems, bridging the generational gap, working through the court system to secure custody, and finding mental health resources,” Casey said.
The Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act has received support from 40 older adult and child advocacy groups, including AARP, American Academy of Pediatrics, and Generations United.