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 House 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 unanimously passed the Senate in March. The House passed bill includes minor changes that must now be cleared procedurally in the Senate before being signed into law by the President. 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 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 last year 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 the House has passed our bill following the unanimous support it received 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. “I am pleased that the House passed the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act, which would help grandparents in Pennsylvania, and throughout the country, access the resources and support they need to raise their grandchildren and hopefully make their job as caregiver a little easier.”
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.