MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - Linda Young calls her grandson “her joy.”
She raised her grandson after his parents divorced. She says raising him “kept me going.” She admits it was challenging at times, especially when he was a teenager.
“I was getting older and I think when you get older, you realize the dangers that they face, more like when your children are growing up, it don’t seem as dangerous. Then when you get older, you think they’re in a car, they’re driving, they’re out with their friends, that was a concern,” Young said.
That could be a concern for many grandparents in that situation. But President Trump signed a bill into law that could make their lives a little easier.
On Monday, the president signed the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act. It establishes a federal task force that supports grandparents raising their grandkids. The goal is to help them identify, coordinate, and share information and resources such as social services and mental health counseling.
U.S. Senator Susan Collins of Maine sponsored the bill before it came into law. Her office says approximately 2.6 million children are being raised by their grandparents or other relatives. That number could rise as the opioid epidemic devastates communities across the country.
Young thinks the law is important.
“It’s expensive, cars, insurance, football, baseball. It can be hard for an older person to manage,” she said.
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who also sponsored the bill, said, “We need to learn more about the challenges facing grandparents and other relatives in Ohio who have stepped up as caregivers, so we can support them as they raise these children.”
“They’re a joy to older people, they really are,” Young said.
“I just think it's important for older people to not be afraid to take in their grandkids, if they're healthy not to be afraid of it, it's beneficial to the grandchild and to them, it's not one-sided, it's two sided.”