Any Pennsylvania resident might agree that divorce usually hits children very hard. While their parents are eager to start a new life, children can feel insecure. Hence, in the best interest of the child, Pennsylvania courts often grant child custody to one parent. The non-custodial parent generally pays child support.
However, sometimes a parent is unable to take care of the child. The parent may be ill and unable to take care of the child. Substance abuse may also render a parent incapable of taking care of a child. In such a situation, the grandparents may be given visitation rights by the court. But, in many cases, the grandparents are the people who are the most capable people to raise the children. They may also be the ones to offer the child or children the most stable home. As family members, grandparents' rights cannot be challenged. In fact, the number of families that are headed by grandparents and family members are on the rise.
The family members often face challenges when raising children. Pennsylvania has established the National Family Caregiver Support Program to help such caregivers and to assist them when raising grandchildren. The Pennsylvania Department of Aging supports those who are raising children under age 18 years.
Regarding eligibility, a person who is above 55 years of age should be designated as the primary caregiver and should not be staying in the same house as the child's parents. The primary caregiver is eligible to receive $200 a month as reimbursements for expenses. There are several programs, such as Second Time Around Parents, which offer services to grandparents who are caring for their grandchildren.
Source: State.PA.us, " Relatives Raising Children in Pennsylvania," Accessed on June 9, 2015