Contemporary Social Policy NJ State Proposed Legislation S435 and A3014 Term Paper

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¶ … Assembly 3014, and identical Senate 435, as my bill. This bill "Establishes (a) 'Grandparenting Resource Center Pilot Program'; appropriates $1,500,000." (New Jersey State Legislature, 2006, p.2) These grandparent resource centers will cater to grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. The center will be a one-stop place to receive any social services they may need. This will be "a two-year pilot program establishing three regional resource centers, one of which shall be in each of the northern, central, and southern regions of the State." (New Jersey State Legislature, 2006, p. 2) have chosen this bill because I look forward to working with the older generation. In today's society, more grandparents are raising their own grandchildren by themselves. By placing all of the appropriate services under one roof, it will become easier for the grandparent to cope with rising issues. With the baby boomers aging, I feel that the existence of a convenient grandparent resource center is a need, not a luxury.

According to the paper trail that I have found using the New Jersey Legislative website, this bill has been introduced to the Legislature five times. The first introduction was in the 1998-1999 Legislature. I really hope that this bill will be enacted this time around.

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Legislation is necessary to insure that grandparents that take on the responsibility of raising their grandchildren have available resources. There is a plethora of information on this growing dynamic of the parenting grandparent. It is not as if this is a new situation, this in fact has been in existence for quite some time however, and acknowledgement has been somewhat nonexistent. Therefore the current legislation in question brings to light all of the research that exists concerning grandparents caring for their grandchildren and the difficulties that come in conjunction with this growing nuclear family phenomenon. These parents deserve the opportunity to have resources afforded to them, as well as an acknowledgement of the forces that are working against this growing population.

Term Paper on Contemporary Social Policy NJ State Proposed Legislation S435 and A3014 Assignment

Data about the physical and emotional health of grandmother caregivers are sparse, although it has been reported that they are likely to report high levels of psychological distress, including depression and somatization. Grandmothers' views of their overall health appear to be complex, with a need to carry on despite numerous health problems, perhaps neglecting their own health in the process. these symptoms are a reason for concern considering the impact that the grandparents health plays on the family unit, especially in situations where the grandparent is taking care of their grandchildren by themselves.

Musil (1998) reports in her research that 85% of grandmothers reported their self-assessed health as good or fair but that 34% retrospectively evaluated that their health had worsened since care giving began. Many grandmother caregivers are over 65 years, making them more vulnerable to health problems.the effects of caregiver stress may be cumulative for grandmothers, which is particularly relevant since many grandmother caregivers can expect to provide care for 18 years. Further, the grandmother's experience of care giving is likely to be conflictual, with as many as 70% reporting feeling depressed, exhausted, or unable to get going, while concurrently feeling appreciated and worthwhile. Such disparate feelings may intensify over time, as many grandmother caregivers assume dual parenting and grand parenting responsibilities. In addition, the ages and number of the grandchildren cared for and the length of time involved in care giving may affect stress, coping, and health outcomes. Little attention has been directed at examining how grandmother caregivers deal with their situations.

One of the most important issues at hand is how much will programs of this nature cost. Approximately $1.5 million from the General Fund to the Dept. Of Human Services, which adds to annual budget of over $9 billion. directs Commissioner of DHS to apply for & accept any grant of money, which may be used to supplement the funds appropriated in this bill. public or private organizations apply to the Commissioner of DHS for a grant of funds to operate a resource center

Assembly 3014 would offer some of the necessary resources discussed in this research. By providing resource, centers designed as single point-of service entities to assist grandparents raising their grandchildren. By acting as a clearinghouse for information; providing free legal advocacy and assistance; helping grandparents navigate the social services, educational, health care and court systems; and providing staff to act as liaisons between grandparents and other agencies for the provision of transportation, counseling, support, and other needed services. The bill further directs the commissioner to apply for and accept any grant of money from the federal government, private foundations alternatively, other sources, which may be available for programs for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren and which will be used to supplement the funds appropriated in this bill. The bill stipulates that any public or private organization that seeks to operate a resource center shall apply to the commissioner on forms prescribed by the commissioner for a grant of funds to do so. The bill appropriates $1,500,000 from the General Fund to the department for the operation of the two-year pilot program. Finally, the bill provides that no later than six months before its expiration, the commissioner shall report to the Legislature and the Governor on the effectiveness of the pilot program and present recommendations for continuing and, if appropriate, expanding the pilot program. (NJSL 3014)

An area of immediate concern in this research is that of New Jersey. The 2000 U.S. census for New Jersey reports that households that are headed by an individual over the age of 65 totals 793,781, which accounts for 25.9% of the population of New Jersey. Non-family households total 910,106, which accounts for 29.7% of the population in New Jersey. These figures further support that this is a population of significance that in total account for 52% of the New Jersey population. Therefore, this alone is evidence of the need for programs that meet the needs of this growing population. (U.S. Census, 2002)

In the early 1990s, researchers, policy makers, and the media began to notice an increase in the number of children living in their grandparent's household. By 2000, the Current Population Survey (CPS) found 4 million children -- about 5% of all children -- living in the home of a grandparent. Only 14% of children who lived in a grandparent's home had both a mother and a father living with them. The greatest share, 45%, lived with a mother, but no father. Another 6% lived with a father, but no mother. The remaining 35% of children who lived with a grandparent did not have a parent in the home. An additional relative. In 1996, 14% of all children lived in extended family households. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000)

These numbers shift in the 2003 Census Report. In 2003, 8% of all children under 18 lived in households where at least one grandparent was present. Ten percent of children fewer than six lived in a household with a grandparent, compared with 7% of those aged 6 to 11 and 6% of those aged 12 to 17. The majority of children living with grandparents were in households where the grandparent was the householder (68%). Three out of every five children living in a grandparent's household had at least one parent present in their home. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2003)

The process of attempting to pass the current legislation has been a long and vigorous road, approximately 8 years. In 1998 through 1999: S2269-12/6/99 - Introduced & Referred to Human Services Committee, there was no Assembly Bill. In 2000 thru 2001: S332-3/15/01 - Reported from Budget & Appropriations Committee w / Changes, Changed from $3 million to $1.5 million, changed from 6 centers to 3 centers, A2121-2/28/00 - Introduced & Referred to Human Services Committee. In 2002 thru 2003: S1545-1/9/03 - Referred to Budget & Appropriations Committee, still no Assembly Bill. In 2004 thru 2005:S64-2/9/04 - Referred to Budget & Appropriations Committee, A2371-2/23/04 - Introduced & Referred to Human Services Committee. In 2006 thru (projected)2007: S435-1/10/06 - Introduced & Referred to Human Services Committee, 5/4/06 - Reported from Committee, 2nd Reading, 5/4/06 - Referred to Budget & Appropriations Committee, and A3014-5/15/06 - Introduced & Referred to Human Services Committee, 6/15/06 - Reported & Referred to Appropriations Committee.

There are three main forms of grandparent care giving. Grandparents who assume primary responsibility in a parental surrogacy role with or without legal custody; grandparents who live in the same home as grandchildren but do not have primary responsibility for raising their grandchildren; and grandparents who provide daycare/babysitting for grandchildren. Many grandmothers without primary responsibility for their grandchildren live in the same home as grandchildren and provide considerable hours of care for them. To date, little is known about the health, stresses, and coping of grandmothers who have assumed either primary or partial responsibility for raising their grandchildren. In conjunction to a lack of information regarding the effects on the older adult's health is also a lack of tools afforded to the older adults… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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