In late March, U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging Ranking Member Bob Casey (D-PA) and Chairman Susan Collins (R-ME) celebrated the U.S. Senate’s unanimous passage of the bipartisan Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act (S. 1091), which would create a federal task force to support grandparents raising grandchildren as the opioid epidemic increases their numbers.
The U.S. House of Representatives must pass the legislation before it becomes law.
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.
Casey authored the bill last year after an Aging Committee hearing during which witnesses testified about why grandparents need easy access to information about resources available to assist them.
“The number of older Americans who are delaying their retirement in order to care for grandchildren is on the rise due to the opioid crisis,” Casey said.
“I am pleased that the Senate passed the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act, which will help thousands of grandparents in Pennsylvania access the resources and support they need to raise their grandchildren. This is another tool we can use to combat the opioid crisis in our communities.”
The Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act would create a federal task force charged with identifying and disseminating information designed to help grandparents raising grandchildren address the challenges they may face, which may include navigating the school system, planning for their families’ future, addressing mental health issues for themselves and their grandchildren, and building social and support networks.