WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Congressman Peter King (R-NY) announced that the bipartisan, bicameral “Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act” (S.1091) has been signed into law.
McGovern and King introduced the House version of the bill earlier this year as a companion to legislation filed in the Senate by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA).
Over 2.5 million children in America are being raised by their grandparents – a number experts expect will only grow as the opioid epidemic continues to ravage communities across America.
Often, when parents are battling addiction and unable to raise a child, that responsibility falls to a grandparent. The bill creates a federal advisory council focused on developing and disseminating information designed to help grandparents.
“Grandparents across America are stepping up to provide love and support for children whose parents are struggling with addiction,” said Congressman McGovern. “These grandparent-led households face unique challenges. They may not have time to plan financially, or it may be difficult for them to access school or healthcare information. Our new advisory council will help grandparents navigate the complex challenges that come with caring for a grandchild.”
“Grandparents play a crucial and increasingly significant role in the lives of their grandchildren. Unfortunately in the wake of the opioid crisis grandparents often step in to raise the children unexpectedly with little to no support. As a result, many grandparents are left without adequate information or resources to help them with their caregiving duties. I am proud to have worked with Congressman McGovern on this important legislation and believe it will have a significant impact,” said Congressman King.
The Advisory Council will examine information about addressing mental health issues, navigating school systems, and building social and support networks that create the best possible environment for children.
Over 40 older adult and child advocacy groups lent their support to the bill, including the AARP and the American Academy of Pediatrics.