Interesting article in the Hartford Courant about the changing face of parenthood in Connecticut – and really, across the entire nation – as a result of the raging opioid crisis.
Service providers in Connecticut report an uptick in the numbers of grandparents stepping up to parent grandchildren, often because of their adult child’s addiction issues.
The percentage of children in state care living with relatives or friends – “kinship care,” as the Department of Children and Families calls it – has doubled from 21 percent in 2011 to 42 percent this year. A shift in DCF policy, away from non-relative placements and towards kinship care, is partly behind the increase. But service providers also linked the uptick to spiraling opioid abuse.
There are support centers and groups available for these grandparents, where they learn about resources and supports available to them. Not surprisingly, finances weigh heavily on their minds as they face long-term care at an age when they were expecting to only need to provide for themselves. Additionally, many grandparents have not yet sought legal guardianship so issues of schooling and medical care become concerns. There are also feelings of guilt over their child’s addiction and inability to parent.
In July, President Donald J. Trump signed legislation that created a task force to help grandparents raising their grandchildren. One of the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, said that in 2015, 8 percent of all newborns in her state were born to women addicted to opioids or other drugs.
Information on the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act is here.
Image Credit: David Maialetti/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP