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12/06/2022 03:39 PM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20210&cosponId=37713
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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: September 19, 2022 09:21 AM
From: Representative Eddie Day Pashinski
To: All House members
Subject: Legal Assistance for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and Kinship Caregivers
 
In 2018, the state legislature and Pennsylvania made strides to better support grandparents raising grandchildren and other kinship caregivers with the passage of Acts 88 & 89, and the adoption of HR 390. This bipartisan package established:
  • The PA KinConnector program to connect caregivers with resources and assistance;
  • Created temporary guardianship for grandparents when parents of children are unable to care for them due to substance use disorder; and
  • Authorized a Joint State Government Commission study of the trends in Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, which reported its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly in 2019.
 
This was a tremendous start, but we continue to hear from grandparents and kinship caregivers struggling to access the resources they need and deserve as they take care of their family member’s children. These stories are supported by the 2019 JSGC report and PA Family Support Alliance, who both identified advancing legal custody for kin caregivers as an important next step for Pennsylvania policymakers.
 
To help address these needs, I will be introducing legislation creating a Civil Legal Services for Kinship Care Families Grant Program that awards grant funds to eligible non-profit organizations that provide civil legal services to kinship care families. Inspired by a statewide program in Georgia, this legal assistance can help secure legal custody, financial benefits, healthcare support, educational resources, and safe housing.
 
Many kinship families are low-income households already facing complex issues and aren’t equipped to navigate the complex legal process on their own, this legal assistance will allow at-risk children to stay in stable family environments, relieving excessive pressure on the foster care system.
 
Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation to provide affordable civil legal services to Pennsylvania families, helping our kin caregivers create safer and more sustainable households by equipping them with the resources needed to stabilize the lives of the children in their care.



Introduced as HB2858