In Georgia, at least 100,000 grandparents are raising grandchildren and up to 300,000 children are being raised by aunts, uncles and other relatives. House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta) reveals her plan for kinship care to WABE reporter Denis O’Hayer.
This transcript is a continuation of a longer interview:
House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta): The second issue that I’m incredibly excited about, and this is more personal for me, is kinship care. It is when, basically relatives, other than parents are raising children, it’s primarily grandparents raising grandchildren.
But in Georgia you have at least 100,000 grandparents raising grandchildren, and up to 300,000 kids who are being raised by aunts, uncles, relatives. The populations are generally created because of drug abuse, because of incarceration, because of military deployment and other issues, and these are informal relationships, but they are saving the State millions of dollars by providing the very necessary support that would otherwise have to come through the foster care system.
Georgia has an obligation to do more for these families, and I wanna give Governor Deal credit, he’s been working with me very closely over the last few years. He’s done, I think important work to move this issue forward, but we’ve reached the place where we have to introduce legislation there.
We’ve, I think, exhausted most of our regulatory capacity, and the State legislator has to really get engaged on this. I was very privileged to work with a bipartisan committee. I chaired a study committee this summer; we went to Dalton, we went to Albany, we went to Savannah, we were here in Atlanta, and we heard the same stories over and over again. These are grandparents, these are family members who want to do what’s right by these children, but they need help and I think the State has a responsibility to provide it.