For Ruth Fox and other grandparents, the opioid crisis has hit home.
She’s 66 and suddenly the guardian of her 10 and 12-year-old grandchildren because the children’s parents are addicts. Fox of Chestwood, Penn. says her life has drastically changed.
A new law recently signed by President Trump, the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act, may help provide grandparents with the resources they need in a moment of crisis.
Senator Bob Casey helped write the law. “We’ve got to support them, we can’t just pat them on the back and say ‘good job’,” he said.
The law will form a federal advisory council that will develop a central source of information to help grandparents caring for their grandchildren.
Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown says this law will help society understand how serious this problem is.
“This is a first step in sort of helping these grandparents whose lives have changed dramatically to figure out how to take care of these kids,” Brown said.
Jaia Peterson Lent is the Deputy Executive Director for Generations United. She says this is a valuable first step to recognize the role grandparents have in the lives of children.
“These children come with real challenges so we need to find ways to support the children and support the caregiver who is stepping in unexpectedly to support these children that have experienced some significant trauma,” said Peterson.
Senator Casey says the advisory group will be comprised of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education, and the Centers for Disease Control, they will have six months to provide a report of what resources should be made available to grandparents caring for their grandchildren, and provide how they can access supports and services.