Updated: Mar 2, 2020
Thursday, December 12, 2019
Key Committee Advances Hassan’s Efforts to Support Grandfamilies and Relative Caregivers, Prevent Child Abuse
Provisions of Senator Hassan’s Bipartisan Bills Included as Part of Broader Package to Combat and Prevent Child Abuse
WASHINGTON – The Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee today reauthorized the bipartisan Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), which includes measures that Senator Maggie Hassan fought to include to ensure that family members caring for children who have been exposed to substance misuse or other trauma are eligible for necessary child support services. The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act also includes provisions from a bipartisan bill that Senator Hassan joined in introducing to help educate professionals who work with children who have experienced sexual abuse.
A growing consequence of the opioid crisis is an increasing number of grandparents raising their grandchildren because the children’s parents overdosed or are absent due to substance use disorders. The measures to support grandfamilies and other relative caregivers in the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act are based off of the bipartisan Help Grandfamilies Prevent Child Abuse Act that Senator Hassan introduced with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) earlier this year. This measure will help organizations like NH Children’s Trust provide more services to help grandfamilies and other relative caregivers in New Hampshire.
“Grandparents and other relatives who are primary caregivers for children impacted by the opioid crisis are taking on an enormous and crucial responsibility, and they need additional support,” Senator Hassan said. “I am pleased that the reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act rightfully makes sure that grandfamilies and other caregivers are eligible for child services under this bill, which helps ensure that both caregivers and children have what they need to thrive.”
The reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act also contains additional Hassan-backed measures from the Jenna Quinn Act that Senator Hassan introduced with Republican Senator John Cornyn, which will fund grants to professionals who provide specialized care for children who have experienced sexual abuse, and especially ensures that children who experience disabilities receive necessary supports. These measures will support New Hampshire-based programs, such as the Granite State Children’s Alliance ‘Know & Tell’ program, which helps provide children who have experienced abuse or neglect with the resources and services that they need to live healthy and productive lives.
Senator Hassan has been leading efforts in the Senate to support grandfamilies and other relative caregivers. In July 2018, the bipartisan Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act – which Senator Hassan cosponsored – became law. The new law creates a one-stop-shop of resources to help grandparents raising grandchildren address the challenges they may face, such as navigating the school system, planning for their families’ future, addressing mental health issues for themselves and their grandchildren, and building social and support networks. This year, Senator Hassan also joined in introducing The Grandfamilies Act, which builds on the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act in order to further to help ease the financial burden of grandparents who are raising grandchildren. Additionally, Senator Hassan participated in a roundtable discussion earlier this year hosted by New Futures and NH Children’s Trust focused on how to better support grandfamilies impacted by the opioid crisis, as well as the need to invest in child abuse prevention.