HARRISBURG, Pa (WKBN) – Two Pennsylvania lawmakers are sponsoring a bill that could give some relief and resources to grandparents raising children who are victims of the opioid epidemic.
U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging Committee Ranking Member Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Chairman Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act to create a federal task force charged with supporting grandparents raising grandchildren.
The task force would be charged with developing and disseminating information designed to help grandparents raising grandchildren navigate the school system, plan for their families’ future, address mental health issues for themselves and their grandchildren, and build social and support networks.
Approximately 2.6 million children are currently being raised in grandfamilies, and experts say this number is rising as the opioid epidemic continues to devastate families and communities across the country.
In 2015, more than 3,200 Pennsylvanians died from drug overdoses, a 20 percent increase from 2014. In Pennsylvania, more than 100,000 children are in the care of their grandparents or other relatives.