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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: May 19, 2017 02:25 PM
From: Representative Eddie Day Pashinski
To: All House members
Subject: Joint State Government Commission study on grandfamilies
I am preparing a House resolution directing the Joint State Government Commission (JSGC) to study grandfamilies in Pennsylvania, with a focus on how the opioid crisis is impacting this growing trend.

Grandfamilies are families in which children reside with, and are being raised by, grandparents or other extended family members and adults with whom they have a close family-like relationship. In 2014, 40 percent of children placed in the care of relatives were there because of parental drug or alcohol abuse.

According to Generations United, an organization at the forefront of helping grandparents raising grandchildren:
  • Nearly 240,000 Pennsylvania children are living in homes where relatives are the householders, with nearly 200,000 of these children living with grandparents;
  • Over 88,000 grandparents are householders responsible for their grandchildren living with them, and nearly 29,000 of these grandparents do not have the child’s parents living with them;
  • Of the grandparents raising grandchildren, 66% are under the age of 60, 58% are in the workforce, 20% are living in poverty and 25% have a disability.

Grandfamilies save the state an estimated $21 billion a year by keeping children out of the foster care system.

Grandfamilies face unique challenges as they suddenly find themselves raising a second family, including; enrolling children in school, getting consent for medical care, finding affordable housing appropriate for children and managing the expense of raising a child while trying to save for their own retirement.

At my hearing on the issue in 2014, and at a recent hearing conducted by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, grandparents didn’t ask for a handout, but rather for a helping hand so they can do their part to keep a fragile family together.

The JSGC study will look at what our grandfamilies need to successfully raise the children in their care, and will make recommendations to the General Assembly so we can do our part to help these families that are helping the state by keeping children out of foster care.

Please join me in supporting this important legislation.

Introduced as HR390