Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Landmark Bill for Grandfamilies Passes Congress

I am thrilled to share with you some exciting news. Yesterday, the United States Senate unanimously passed the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008. The bill now goes to the President for his signature. The Act will help thousands of children and youth by promoting permanent families for children in foster care through relative guardianship and adoption and helping with access to other supportive services for grandparent-and other relative-headed families.

The bill is the most significant federal recognition to date of the contribution grandparents and other relatives make in raising our nation’s children. The Senate and House deserve credit for taking this groundbreaking and bi-partisan action: one that dramatically increases the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of children and their families. You can click here for a full summary.

Thank you to everyone for all their hard work in making calls, writing letters, and visiting with their legislators to pass this bill through Congress. Your stories brought this issue to life for your Members of Congress and inspired them to act.

In addition to your hard work, there are a number of legislators who deserve our gratitude. Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Representatives Danny K. Davis (D-IL) and Timothy Johnson (R-IL) were early and steadfast champions of legislation to support grandfamilies with the first introduction of the Kinship Caregiver Support Act over four years ago, many provisions of which were included in this final bill. Their consistent advocacy combined with the strong leadership of Senate Finance Committee Chairman, Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Charles Grassley (R-IA), and Income Security and Family Support Subcommittee leaders Jim McDermott (D-WA) and Jerry Weller (R-IL) made this landmark legislation a reality.

This was truly a team effort from everyone and was many years in the making. I can't wait for the President to sign the bill into law and starting the celebrations.


Nana Bruce said...

This is wonderful news!! I am a single grandmother and have been raising my seven year old grandson for three years. This Bill will help so many grandparents and relatives like myself, who find themselves starting over raising children with limited income and resourses. Thank you very much for all who were instrumental in getting this Bill passed.

Anonymous said...

Many grandparents are on limited incomes, this will help greatly,

GP"s should be respected MORE by the Social Workers, smile when you come to our homes, ask us what can you do to help us, what do we need personally? we are not the problem we are the solution! in many cases GP might fear the worker will take their grand babies away from them so they do not ask for services that are sometimes so needed.

Also there should be respite care included for children of all ages not just o-5 years old.

Grandparents need time OFF, a weekend here and there and some Summertime vacations.

Lets make this a win-win situation for the children and the grand parents

Can YOU think of a better place to be than at your grand parents house.
This Grandmother makes a GGRRRREAAT Pound Cake.

Mz Mary

JHENRY said...

I agree with anonymous. I really get upset with the social worker I get assigned to. They don't really care what problems we are having. They just put in their 8 hours and every other Friday off. If you do confront them with something they did that was uncalled for, example on the QR7 when it asks "Did anyone who gets food stamps pay court ordered child or spousal support? If yes, list the amount payed and attach proof of payment." I don't get food stamps so I didn't answer that question. My social worker sent it back with a notice of action saying if I didn't get it corrected and back to the TANF office before April 15, I wouldn't get my grandchildrens cash aid for the next month. I called her and left a message that I didn't answer that question because I don't get food stamps. when she finally called me back she said that if you don't answer all the questions you will automatically get a notice of action to fill it out even if it doesn't apply to you. They lord it over you because they know they have you over a barrell and can cut off aid when ever they fill like it. They are always right.

I have never been on public assistance in my life until we took custody of the 3 grandchildren. This was partly because they came to us from social service and also because we are in our late 60s and were retired and on a fixed income when social service approached us to take custody of these children to get they out of foster care.

I hope we can get some of the financial aid that the landmark bill for grandfamilies passed. When will it become effective?

I for one will be really happy not to have to worry if there will be enough of our retirement to see these grandchildren through their 18th birthday. After that, our worries will be getting them money for college.