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05/19/2024 11:12 AM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20230&cosponId=38007
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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: December 1, 2022 02:30 PM
From: Representative Eddie Day Pashinski
To: All House members
Subject: The Kinship Care Legal Assistance Grant Program
 
In 2018, Pennsylvania made great strides to better support grandparents raising grandchildren and other kinship caregivers through the passage of Acts 88 & 89, and the adoption of HR 390. This bipartisan package provided much-needed assistance for kinship families navigating this new family situation. This legislation not only established the PA KinConnector Program to connect caregivers with resources and support, but it also created temporary guardianship for grandparents of children whose parents cannot care for them due to substance use disorder and authorized a Joint State Government Commission study of the trends in Grandparents Raising Grandchildren.
 
While these measures were a tremendous start, we continue to hear from grandparents and other kinship caregivers struggling to access the resources they need and deserve as they care for their family member's children. These stories are supported by the PA Family Support Alliance and the 2019 JSGC report authorized by HR 390, which both identified advancing legal custody for kin caregivers as an important next step for Pennsylvania policymakers.
 
To help advance Pennsylvania's support for kinship caregivers and ensure their access to support throughout this process, I will be re-introducing legislation creating a The Kinship Care Legal Assistance Grant ProgramInspired by a statewide program in Georgia, this program will award grant funds to eligible non-profit organizations that provide civil legal services to kinship care families. Grant funds awarded are to be used for the administrative, civil legal services, and other costs associated with a kinship caregiver. This will support kinship families, whether they're looking to obtain custody or adoption, power of attorney for the child's medical and educational care or establish legal standing with the child to make daily caregiving decisions. 
 
Throughout Pennsylvania, 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 and create safer and more sustainable households.
 
Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation to provide affordable legal services to Pennsylvania's kinship caregivers, equipping them with the resources needed to stabilize the lives of the children in their care. 
 



Introduced as HB931