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Bill addressing grandparent custody introduced

For a variety of reasons, there are many grandparents in Albuquerque and nationwide who are raising their grandchildren. In fact, according to one source grandparents are caring for around 2.6 million children in our nation. While sometimes this is done when both of the child's parents passed away before the child is grown, other times it is done because the child's parents are unfit to care for the child. For example, grandparent custody may be the best choice if the child's parents are addicted to drugs. Opioids and heroin in particular are two drugs which are seeing an upsurge in use across the nation. Moreover, two out of every five children currently being cared for by foster parents were taken out of their homes because their parents were abusing drugs.

With this in mind, two U.S. Senators drafted the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act. The bill, which has been introduced, aims to create a task force with the mission of providing grandparents raising grandchildren with the information they need when they assume the role of parent of their grandchild. For example, they will need to have an understanding of how the child's school system works. In addition, many children in these situations may have mental health issues that need to be dealt with. Finally, it is always important for grandparents raising grandchildren to have a network of support.

Under the bill, members of the taskforce will have to provide Congress with reports on how best to provide grandparents raising grandchildren with support, and also to discern any areas where these grandparents are in need of resources to help them. The U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary for the Department of Health along with other experts will be participants in the taskforce.

The bill has since been sent to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. It remains to be seen whether it will one day become law. However, what is important to take away is that grandparents assuming custody of their grandchildren are in need of support, both for the benefit of the grandparents and the benefit of the child in their care. Those who are wondering how this bill would affect them if it becomes law may want to speak to an attorney familiar with grandparents' rights.

Source: The Daily Item, "Casey bill would aid grandparents raising grandkids amid opioid epidemic," Eric Scicchitano, May 13, 207

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