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Press Release - On Mother's Day Hillary Clinton Reiterates Support to Grandmothers Raising Children

May 11, 2007

According to the National Hispanic Council on Aging, Hispanics are the fastest growing group of children living in homes headed by grandparents. Hillary Clinton recently introduced the Kinship Caregiver Support Act, which will help address the challenges faced by grandparents and other relatives raising children.

"On Mother's Day, I want to congratulate all mothers, but I want to particularly honor those mothers who are raising a family for the second time. I am talking about those grandmothers who for circumstances beyond their control have become '˜kinship caregivers'. In the United States more than 6 million children, many of them Hispanic, are living in households headed by grandparents or other relatives. These relatives often have to take over this responsibility unexpectedly and are more likely to be living in poverty than their peers.

"These loving grandmothers and other relatives are making great personal sacrifices to provide safe and loving homes for the children they care for. And often times this is not an easy task. Among the unique challenges that kinship caregivers face are difficulties enrolling children in school, authorizing medical treatment, maintaining their public housing leases, obtaining affordable legal services, and accessing a variety of federal benefits and services.

"According to the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA), Hispanics are the fastest growing group of children living in homes headed by grandparents. The urgency to address the challenges faced by this group prompted the NHCOA to include the issue in their 2005 recommendations to improve the wellbeing of Hispanic older adults.

"Growing up in Illinois, the youth ministry of my church group would help take care of young children of migrant workers. I used to see how these families who worked long hours under the sun, would come home exhausted, but excited to meet their children. Since then I have always admired the strong sense of family of the Hispanic community. These close family ties have not changed. We see with admiration the enormous sacrifices that some of these grandparents are making to help raise their grandchildren and keep their families together. By taking common sense steps, we can help ease the barriers they face while they struggle to do the right thing for our children.

"That is why I recently introduced the Kinship Caregiver Support Act, which will establish a Kinship Navigator Program in states, large metropolitan areas and Indian tribal organizations to assist kinship caregivers in navigating needed programs and services. The program will provide families with the guidance they need to obtain health care coverage for the children in their care, apply for housing assistance, locate childcare, enroll children in school, and gain access to other services.

"The bill also will establish a Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program to provide federal assistance to states for subsidized guardianship programs to allow grandparents and other relatives who become kinship caregivers to receive the same subsidy a foster family would receive. Currently, kinship caregivers are not eligible to receive such a subsidy to help provide for a child who would otherwise be in foster care.

"In addition, this legislation will ensure that relatives are informed when children enter foster care. Sadly, sometimes grandparents and other relatives do not know when their grandchildren or nieces and nephews come under the care of the State. By notifying grandparents and other relatives when children enter the foster care system, we will make it easier for families to stay together.

"My colleague, Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and I have introduced the bipartisan Kinship Caregiver Support Act in the 108th and 109th Congresses and will continue to press for passage of the legislation. We must help these grandmothers, and other relatives, who guided by love and duty keep their families together by providing the support they need to cope with the demands of unexpected parenthood at an older age."

Hillary Clinton, Press Release - On Mother's Day Hillary Clinton Reiterates Support to Grandmothers Raising Children Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/292472

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