Earlier this week, news staff writer Jonathan Roberts offered informative reporting on an often overlooked group – grandparents serving as primary caregivers to their grandchildren.
The factors leading to the formation of these particular family units are varied, and they are more common than you might think. According to the US Census Bureau, there are more than 75,000 grandparents caring for their grandchildren in Tennessee.
Many of these Tennessees, after raising their own children and retiring, are on fixed incomes and have little left for the necessities of child-rearing.
Fortunately, state lawmakers and Governor Bill Lee have recognized the hardships these families face and are trying to help.
A bill being considered by the General Assembly proposes to provide informal caregivers earning less than twice the income of federal poverty guidelines with up to half the assistance currently paid to foster parents.
Governor Lee has included the bill as part of his legislative agenda, meaning he would like it to be a priority for the state.
For many grandparents who are stretching out Social Security benefits and relying on a disconnected network of charities to make ends meet for their nontraditional families, that extra funding each month could be life-changing.
We hope lawmakers will fast-track this bill and give grandparents and their grandchildren the best chance for a bright future.