HARRISBURG — The House Children and Youth Committee will introduce a two-bill legislative package Monday morning at a press conference in Harrisburg. State Rep. Kathy Watson, 144th District and chairman of the committee will present a bill to help non-parental family members raising children the same access to caregivers state and private resources.
Grandparents raising their grandchildren has been steadily increasing, according to Census data. The Huffington Post published an article in 2012 stating: “8 percent of grandparents share a household with a grandchild, and 2.7 million grandparents provide for the bulk of their grandchildren’s needs. That’s up from 2.4 million in 2006.”
Watson believes some of the numbers, “has been exacerbated by the opioid addiction crisis.” Regardless of the situation, she believes the two-bill package takes into account that a person’s retirement pension is “never set up to raise children again.”
At the hearing, members of the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Caucus will be present, as well as the Human Services Secretary, and two grandparents who will discuss day-to-day challenges. State Rep. Eddie Pashinski (D-Luzerne) will unveil the second bill.
At the end of this term, Watson is retiring and wants “to get a whole lot done.” She said she has already written a letter to the leadership in the Senate on bills on adoption, a different package, that “haven’t been moved.”
“I don’t usually do press conferences to introduce a bill, but I see the need to move it…I’m a little too passionate and I’ve been working on this for a while.”