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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 22, 2014 02:25 PM
From: Representative Eddie Day Pashinski
To: All House members
Subject: Co-Sponsor Memo: Kinship Navigator Pilot Program

TO: All House Members

FROM: Representative Eddie Day Pashinski

DATE: December 22, 2014

SUBJECT: Kinship Navigator Pilot Program

In the near future I will introduce legislation to establish a Kinship Navigator Pilot Program to determine the needs of kinship caregivers, focusing on grandparents raising grandchildren, and assess the feasibility of establishing a statewide Kinship Navigator Program.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, over 191,000 Pennsylvania children, or about seven percent of the children in this state, are being raised by their grandparents. And this figure increases every year. Nearly 20 percent of these grandfamilies are living in poverty. Additionally, another 48,000 Pennsylvania children are being raised by other relatives.

The House Aging and Older Adult Services and the House Children and Youth Committees held a joint hearing on this issue last May. Several grandparents from my district talked about the challenges they face as they raise their grandchildren including: personal costs associated with raising a child; lack of a support network; and lack of respite for the caregiver.

Despite the challenges, research finds that children fare much better when in the care of relatives as opposed to foster care. They have more stability, are more likely to maintain connections with brothers and sisters, and they preserve their cultural heritage and community bonds.

Taxpayers also fare much better. According to "The State of Grandfamilies in America: 2014" keeping children out of foster care saves taxpayers more than $4 billion each year.

It's time for Pennsylvania to step up to the plate and help our grandfamilies and other kinship caregivers by establishing a Kinship Navigator Program that would assist them in finding the support they need to keep their family together.

Kinship Navigator Programs started over ten years ago as state and county initiatives to connect grandparents and other kinship caregivers with information and services. Since then, at least a dozen states have established successful kinship navigator programs, including our neighboring states of Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Ohio.

Please consider cosponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB662