Governor Wolf Backs Bipartisan Bills to Help ‘Grandfamilies’ Affected by Opioid Crisis

April 10, 2018

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today threw his support behind bipartisan state and federal proposals to help “grandfamilies” and aid grandparents who have assumed sole care-giving responsibilities for their grandchildren, especially those affected by the opioid epidemic, by ensuring they have access to all the services possible to help them with their duties as caregivers and guardians.

Governor Wolf backed a package of legislative proposals in the State House proposed by Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, and Rep. Kathy Watson, R-Bucks, and joined U.S. Senator Bob Casey in urging the U.S. House to pass his federal legislation, Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act, which passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate.

“One of the worst effects of the opioid crisis is the damage the disease of addiction has done to so many families across Pennsylvania,” Governor Wolf. “Many grandparents are stepping up to take care of their grandchildren and we need to make sure they have our full support as caregivers and legal guardians of children, our most innocent bystanders to this awful epidemic.

“These grandparents are making sacrifices to help their families and communities and they should be accessing all the resources available to help them. I hope the state legislature will send these bipartisan bills to my desk with the necessary funding to implement these programs, and I urge the U.S. House to pass Senator Casey’s legislation.”

The state proposals recently advanced from the House include House Bills 2133 (Watson) and 1539 (Pashinski), and House Resolution 390 (Pashinski).

According to the bills’ sponsors, an estimated 82,000 grandparents are the sole caregivers for nearly 89,000 grandchildren in Pennsylvania. That number is increasing due to the devastating opioid crisis across the commonwealth. The House Children and Youth Committee held a hearing on the issue last summer, with estimates showing that Pennsylvania grandparents are saving the state at least an estimated $1 billion a year by keeping their grandchildren out of the foster care system.

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