Commonwealth Media Services

Gov. Tom Wolf Wants To Remove Barriers For Grandparents Raising Children Affected By The Opioid Crisis

An estimated 82,000 grandparents in our state are raising at least one grandchild.

August 09, 2018 - 10:05 am

HARRISBURG (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - With More Pennsylvania children being raised by grandparents due to the opioid crisis, Governor Tom Wolf is pushing for legislation, including a bill that would provide a way for grandparents to obtain temporary guardianship. 

He says lawmakers need to do more to support families affected by opioid addiction, specifically parents of addicts who are left to raise their grandchildren.

“Often grandparents step up to take over the responsibility of being parents, or try to.”

He adds that the epidemic can hit anyone.

“It’s an epidemic that knows no boundaries. It affects east and west, north, south, urban, rural, rich, poor, male, [and] female.”

An estimated 82,000 grandparents in our state are raising at least one grandchild.

Wolf met with some of those grandparents Wednesday.

In a news release Wolf said, “The grandparents I sat down with today are making sacrifices to help their families and communities and they should be accessing all the resources available to help them. One way to do that is for the legislature to pass bi-partisan bills that can make a difference in the lives of Pennsylvania families.”

House bill 1539, sponsored by Eastern PA Democrat Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski would help grandparents secure temporary guardianship.

It is estimated grandparents save the state about $1 billion a year keeping grandchildren out of the foster care system. That doesn’t account for the families unidentified to the state.

“I have called on our legislature to pass bi-partisan bills in the past and am doing so again today because it’s vitally important that we give our grandfamilies not only support, but access to the information and resources they need to thrive and raise strong, healthy families in Pennsylvania,” said Wolf.

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