An estimated 80,000+ grandparents are raising their grandchildren in Pennsylvania, in part due to the opioid crisis which is rendering parents incapable, according to a recent news article. In response, Governor Wolf signed two bills into law in October that were unanimously passed earlier in 2018 and are designed to help ensure that grandparents have the legal rights and resources to parent.

The first law establishes a website and toll-free hotline to connect grandparents with resources, helping grandparents access existing services and possibly obtain funding. The second law makes it easier for grandparents to get temporary guardianship if parents suffer from addiction, and grants guardianship in 90-day increments up to a year. This will allow grandparents basic parenting rights such as enrolling grandchildren in school or taking them to the doctor.

As custodial grandparents save the state’s foster care system about $1 billion annually, “We need to make sure that they have our full support as caregivers and legal guardians of children,” said Governor Wolf.

News reports also noted that members of the governor’s cabinet, currently traveling throughout the commonwealth to meet with custodial grandparents on a “listening tour,” heard concern from grandparents about affordable daycare that met state standards for child care subsidies, as some earned too much for subsidies but not enough to cover the cost. There also were substantial legal fees in winning and keeping custody in some cases.

This is the latest in a trend that we have and will continue to share about grandparents custody rights in Pennsylvania. If you have questions on this or any other area of family law, we can help. Call us at 215-340-2207, or email