Grandparents who raise their grandchildren received a boost with the passage of two laws Tuesday.
One law grants temporary guardianship in 90-day increments for up to one year to grandparents or other family members when the child(dren)'s parents are not able to care for them. The temporary guardianship gives grandparents the right to make vital, basic decisions for their grandchildren, such as the ability to take a child to the doctor or enroll them in school.
It does so while it protects the parental rights of parents, including those suffering from opioid addiction, and considers the needs of the child to be with loving family members, rather than in foster care or another arrangement.
The second bill establishes the Kinship Caregiver Navigator Program, an informational resource for grandparents and other family members, both as a website and a toll-free hotline.
The website will offer information on support and services available, and a specially trained navigator will provide support and guidance to a kinship caregiver and serve as a mediator to establish relationships between kinship caregivers and relevant federal, state and local agency staff.
The program was made possible by a $479,307 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families.
The grant will help further support grandparents, other family members and children affected by the opioid crisis.