In a move we rarely get to see these days, both party’s members of Congress came together to pass a piece of legislation that would help grandparents taking care of their grandkids in what has become known as grandfamilies.
The Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act was sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) in May 2017. It was signed by President Donald Trump on July 9. 40 older adult and child advocacy groups including AARP and American Academy of Pediatrics have expressed support for the new law.
In an effort to help more than 2.5 million grandparents raising their grandchildren, the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act introduces a Federal Advisory Council whose job is to support them. It will provide guidance and resources for improving the childcare by disseminating information on how to best secure health, educational, nutritional and other needs of the children. At the same time, it also proved information on maintaining physical and mental health and emotional well-being of the caretakers.
The council will submit a report to the Congress on its progress, first after six months and the second two years later. At the insistence of Generations United, the council will include one grandparent caregiver, along with the representatives of several federal agencies, namely Administration for Community Living, Administration for Children and Families, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Mental Health and Substance Use. It will be overseen by The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
As the number of grandparents raising grandchildren continues to grow in the United States. Often, they are low-income families, forced to cut deep into their retirement accounts in order to provide for their grandkids. Hopefully, the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act will at least partially alleviate that and help them raise the children in their care properly.