Thompson co-introduces bill to support kinship caregivers
U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson on Friday co-introduced a bipartisan bill to better support kinship caregivers who are primary caregivers for children exposed to substances abuse and trauma, according to a news release from Thompson’s office.
Thompson, R-15th District, was joined in co-sponsorship of the Help Grand-families Prevent Child Abuse Act by Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, a Democrat from Delaware County in eastern Pennsylvania.
The legislation would:
- Ensure grandfamilies and kinship caregivers are eligible for services under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA).
- Provide additional support to these families to meet the needs of children who have experienced trauma, including being exposed to substance misuse.
- Call for specialized training to help kinship caregivers navigate the complicated supports and services for which they could be eligible.
“All children deserve a loving and safe home. Sadly, due to the nation’s growing opioid crisis, more and more children are being left without structure, without safety, and in some cases, without parents,” Thompson said.
“The Help Grandfamilies Prevent Child Abuse Act will provide resources to assist grandparents in raising their grandchildren and most importantly, help prevent these children from entering the foster care system.”
Scanlon said more than 2 million children across the U.S., including nearly 100,000 in Pennsylvania, are being raised by their grandparents, other relatives or family friends, and “we must do all we can to address the unique challenges kinship caregivers face.”
Gov. Tom Wolf thanked both Thompson and Scanlon for support for what he called a “Pennsylvania issue.”
In the U.S. Senate, legislation also was introduced by Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and Susan Collins, R-Maine.