The Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act was Signed by the President on July 7, 2018.
This federal law, co-authored by Pennsylvania senator Bob Casey and Maine senator Susan Collins, establishes an advisory council that is charged with identifying resources to address the physical and mental health needs of children as well as the needs of the grandparents or other older relative caregivers.
The impetus for the law is the growing number of grandparents who are caring for grandchildren. Congress found that 2,500,000 grandparents were the primary caretakers of their grandchildren in 2016 and further that 32% of foster placements that year were with grandparents or other relatives. Congress noted that while grandparents report that they receive significant benefits from raising their grandchildren, providing this care may take a toll on the caretaker’s physical and mental health and affects their ability to save for retirement. Further, grandparents can face difficulty obtaining access to school, medical care and other benefits for their grandchildren.
The goal of the legislation is to facilitate better coordination of supports to caregivers as well as to provide a centralized source of information. Within 180 days, the council must identify best practices and resources, as well as outline gaps in the services available to these children and their families. A final report must be distributed to government agencies and service providers within 2 years after the initial report. The Council will terminate in 3 years.
We applaud the bill’s co-authors for identifying and addressing the needs of these families. KingSpry’s Family and Adoption attorneys are familiar with the legal issues associated with providing care to children who are unable to reside with their parents and are ready to assist grandparents and others.
heARTbeat is a publication of KingSpry’s Adoption Law and Assisted Reproductive Technology Law Practice Group. It is meant to be informational and does not constitute legal advice.