“You don’t know where to turn,” said Ruth Fox of Chestwood, Pennsylvania.
For Fox and other grandparents, the opioid crisis has hit home. She is 66 and suddenly the guardian of 10 and 12-year-old grandchildren because the children’s parents are addicts.
“You’ve done that years ago and you haven’t raised children for a long time,” said Fox.
Fox says her life has drastically changed.
“When this kind of thing happens, it’s usually very sudden and, you know, you’re like, oh my goodness,” said Fox.
A new law recently signed by President Donald Trump, the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act, may help provide grandparents with the resources they need in a moment of crisis. U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania) helped to write the law.
“We’ve got to support them. We can’t just pat them on the back and say good job,” said Casey.
The law will form a federal advisory council that will develop a central source of information to help grandparents caring for their grandchildren.
“More information about the healthcare system, about the mental health system, about schools about any other resource federal, state or otherwise that it’s available,” said Casey.
Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown says this law will help society understand how serious the problem is.
“This is a first step in sort of helping these grandparents whose lives have changed dramatically … to figure out how to take care of these kids,” said Brown.
“These children come with real challenges, so we need to find ways to support the children and support the caregiver who is stepping in unexpectedly to support these children that have experienced some significant trauma,” said Jaia Peterson Lent, deputy executive director of Generations United.