WASHINGTON — To continue combating the devastating effects of the opioid crisis on families, Senator Maggie Hassan recently joined in introducing a bill to help ease the financial burden of grandparents who are raising grandchildren. The Grandfamilies Act builds on the success of bipartisan legislation that was signed into law last year and was cosponsored by Senator Hassan to help grandparents easily find the resources that they need. The Grandfamilies Act is also cosponsored by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).
“Grandparents are increasingly taking on the role of primary caregivers for their grandchildren, something we are seeing in New Hampshire largely as a result of the fentanyl and opioid epidemic,” said Senator Hassan. “We must ensure that these grandparents have the resources they need to provide the necessary care to their grandchildren. By providing grandfamilies with greater access to resources like Social Security children benefits and more streamlined supports and services, this legislation is vital to those efforts.”
The Grandfamilies Act would help provide grandparents with additional resources to care for their families’ needs. The legislation would increase access to Social Security child’s benefits and the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families cash assistance program, incentivize states to create temporary guardianship laws for grandparents who need to step in quickly to help a grandchild, provide support for housing specifically provided for grandparents raising grandchildren.
In July 2018, the bipartisan Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act – which Senator Hassan cosponsored – became law. The new law creates a one-stop-shop of resources to help grandparents raising grandchildren address the challenges they may face, such as navigating the school system, planning for their families’ future, addressing mental health issues for themselves and their grandchildren and building social and support networks.
The Grandfamilies Act is supported by Generations United, American Academy of Pediatrics, Children’s Defense Fund, LeadingAge, National Council on Aging, National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, and Social Security Works.