U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) introduced a bill that would help connect grandparents and other relative caregivers with available resources and support to raise relative children. The bipartisan Informing Grandfamilies Act would require states to directly communicate with grandparents who receive or are applying for cash assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and provide them information about additional supports such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Medicaid. The bill would also require states to inform grandparents about potential options for the family to receive financial support on behalf of the child through the child welfare system.
“In our country, more than 2.7 million children are being raised by grandparents and other relatives, also known as kinship caregivers. These caregivers are often left with few places to turn, and the coronavirus pandemic is only perpetuating their uncertainty and economic hardship,” said Senator Young. “Our bipartisan Informing Grandfamilies Act would ensure anyone raising relative children is aware of and has access to all available programs, resources, and supportive services already provided by the government.”
Many relative caregivers are eligible for assistance programs, like TANF, to help make ends meet. However, some of these caregivers may not be accessing all of the available TANF benefits or may not be aware of other government programs that are available to help with basic needs. There may also be a benefit in ensuring that relative caregivers receive more information about how to become a legal guardian, foster parent or adoptive parent.