Bipartisan Bill Would Assist Families Affected by Opioid Crisis
Washington, DC — Today, U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging Chairman Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ranking Member Bob Casey (D-PA) applauded final Senate passage of the bipartisan Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act (S. 1091), which would create a one-stop-shop of resources to support grandparents raising grandchildren. This legislation will now head to the President’s desk to be signed into law. U.S. Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Peter King (R-NY) introduced companion legislation in the House.
Approximately 2.6 million children are being raised by their grandparents or other relatives and experts say this number is rising as the opioid epidemic devastates communities across the country. Senators Collins and Casey introduced the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act in the Senate in May 2017 after an Aging Committee hearing during which witnesses testified about the need for grandparents to have easy access to information about resources available to assist them.
“Throughout history, grandparents have stepped in to provide safe and secure homes to their grandchildren, replacing traumatic pasts with loving and hopeful futures. With so many parents struggling with addiction, grandparents are increasingly coming to the rescue and assuming this role. It is essential that we do all that we can to help these families,” said Senator Collins. “Our legislation will help ensure that grandparents who have taken on this caretaker role have access to the resources they need. I am delighted that our bill received unanimous support in the Senate, and I look forward to it becoming law.”
“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,” said Senator Casey. “Once the bill is signed into law, I look forward to seeing this Administration quickly convene the advisory council so that grandparents in Pennsylvania, and throughout the country, will be able to access the resources and support they need to raise their grandchildren.”
"Generations United applauds Senators Collins and Casey for championing the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act, which has now passed the House and the Senate. This important legislation will result in improving the lives of the 2.6 million grandparents who are raising grandchildren, more and more of whom are being called on because of the opioid crisis," said Donna Butts, Executive Director of Generations United. "As a result of the Senators' compassionate leadership, efforts to support relative caregivers will be better coordinated at the federal level and critical gaps in services will be identified and filled."
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.