WATCH: Sen. Kelly, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Connect Grandparents Raising Grandchildren to Additional Resources

More than 62,000 Arizona grandparents are the caregiver in their family

Kelly also discussed rising costs for Arizona seniors during hearing

In keeping with his focus on supporting and reducing costs for Arizona seniors and families, today, Arizona Senator Mark Kelly, along with Senators Bob Casey Jr. (D-PA), Todd Young (R-IN), and Tim Scott (R-SC), introduced a bipartisan bill that would require states to inform grandparents and family caregivers of available resources and support as they raise and care for relative children. In Arizona, more than 62,000 grandparents are the main caregiver in their family. During a Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing, Kelly spoke about the significance of the bill and heard directly from advocates who support his bipartisan legislation. 

Kelly speaks during a Senate Special Committee On Aging hearing.

“In my state of Arizona, there are about 62,000 grandparents who, like the two of you, are the primary responsible caregivers for their grandchildren […]. But we also know that most of these caregivers are unlicensed, and thus aren’t getting all of the support and services that a licensed foster parent may be eligible for. That’s why, today, I’m joining Chairman Casey, Senator Young, and Ranking Member Scott to introduce the Informing Grand families Act. This bill will ensure that states are communicating to kinship caregivers and grand families what additional supports and relief programs that may be available to them— things like nutrition assistance, or home energy assistance,” said Senator Kelly, member of the Senate Committee On Aging, during today’s hearing. 

During the hearing, Kelly also asked witnesses about how rising costs for everything from rent to the price of gas are impacting them. Kelly acknowledged that grandparents who serve as primary caregivers – many of whom live on fixed incomes – are struggling to make ends meet. Kim Clifton, an advocate for caregivers, spoke about how seniors have had to “put their needs aside”’ when caring for their grandchildren. Kelly also highlighted the need for Congress to lower prescription drug prices and overall healthcare costs for seniors.

“Regardless of where I travel across the state of Arizona, one thing I hear over and over again is that the price of prescription medication is too high. I mean, it goes higher than inflation, higher than gas. It’s just too expensive and it’s up to Congress to do something about it,” said Senator Kelly during the hearing.

Kelly has led bipartisan efforts in the Senate to support Arizona seniors and families. Through his work on the Special Committee on Aging, Kelly helped strike a deal to lower prescription drug costs for seniors and introduced a bill to modernize senior centers and expand meal programs. Kelly also continues to meet with his Senior Citizens Advisory Group, made up of leading advocates across the state, who inform his work in Congress as he works to tackle the challenges facing Arizona seniors and families.