Pashinski urges Senate action to help grandparents raising grandchildren
HARRISBURG, June 27 – State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, today held a Capitol news conference to request the Senate move on his bill that would help benefit grandparents who are the sole caregivers of their grandchildren in Pennsylvania.
House Bill 662, which has been in the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee for more than a year, would create 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.
Pashinski said there are more than 240,000 children in Pennsylvania who are being taken care of by family members. Of those children, 191,000 are being raised by 80,000 grandparents.
"These grandparents face many challenges raising their grandchildren including no support network, no access to legal service or direction to service organizations, and no information on relief funds and rehabilitation services for grandparents and grandchildren," he said.
"On average, it costs $27 a day to keep a child in foster care in Pennsylvania, which adds up to nearly $2 billion a year. The grandparents who are raising their grandchildren are saving the taxpayers serious money, so these grandparents deserve some reasonable assistance."
Pashinski said he has provided a resource on his legislative webpage (www.pahouse.com/Pashinski) that provides links to resources and information on topics that could be beneficial to grandparents who are raising their grandchildren.
"While this webpage is available and is similar to the pilot program in my legislation, we need to move H.B. 662 forward in order to have more discussions on the best way to provide these resources to these grandparents," Pashinski said. "Kinship Navigator Programs have proven beneficial and successful in many states, including our neighbors in Ohio, Delaware, New Jersey and New York.
"The time for Pennsylvania to step up is now."