Charlotte Reese

June 16, 2017

The first National Grandparents Day was Sept. 9, 1979, per President Jimmy Carter – since then every Sunday after Labor Day honors grandparents across America.

A historical Census Bureau report shows grandchildren under age 18 living in the home of their grandparents went from 2,214 in 1970 to 4,474 in 2009. 

The opioid epidemic holds a strong correlation to “grandfamilies” situations, while the reasons do vary.

Child welfare officials are connecting this most recent uptick in grandparents raising grandchildren to the rise during the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s and ‘90s.

Locally, State Representative and Chairman of the House Children and Youth Committee Kathy Watson (R-Bucks/144th) is working to discuss ways legislators can support their circumstances.

Two years ago, a woman in Harrisburg approached State Rep. Watson with a great concern.

“She was 78-years-old and asked me where she could get a part-time job,” Watson explained. “And this is happening all over.”  

The Republican Rep. notes, “Pennsylvania grandparents are saving the state an estimated $22 million a year by keeping their grandchildren out of the foster care system.” 

The House Children and Youth met in Harrisburg on Wednesday, June 14, which marked the second hearing on grandparents raising their grandchild.

State Rep. Kathy Watson will have meetings with professionals throughout the summer to discuss a plan moving forward. 

Multiple states are facing similar issues and Senator Bob Casey is also bringing attention to these situations.