Gov. Wolf meets with grandparents raising grandkids due to opioid crisis
WILKES-BARRE (WOLF) -- Governor Tom Wolf stopped by the area Wednesday at the Wyoming Valley JCC.
He sat down with local grandparents who are raising grandchildren as a result of the opioid epidemic.
They say there are numerous barriers to caring for their grandkids while their children struggle with addiction.
Some said there's a great need for trauma counseling for kids and providing safe and clean visitation spaces with parents.
Grandparents also have experienced trouble caring for grandkids while they're not legal guardians.
Rep. Eddie Pashinski (D-Luzerne) is sponsoring a bill that would temporarily give them guardianship, while protecting the rights of parents.
Grandparents at the meeting who spoke say raising the little ones has been unfathomably difficult.
"I have some hope, I just hope it doesn't take another 14 years. I mean for me, it's been a 14 year battle but for some, longer. This is not a new problem, this is an old problem. The opioid epidemic didn't just start. It started 20 years ago," said Gerri Mikelski, a grandparent raising her special needs granddaughter.
According to general assembly research, Pennsylvania grandparents are saving the state around a billion dollars by keeping kids out of the foster care system.