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AZ lawmakers again considering bills that could help grandparents raising grandkids

Roughly 60,000 grandparents in Arizona are raising their grandchildren. But raising children later in life can be financially difficult. Once again, efforts are being made again at the Legislature to boost state aid for kinship foster care.

There are two concurrent bills moving through the Arizona House and Senate that would raise the kinship foster stipend from $75 to $300 a month. 

Patricia Dominguez is the director of kinship care services with Duet, a nonprofit that helps grandparents raising grandkids. We have grandparents who stepped up and, and are doing this all on their own, without the state getting involved." She says this is big because there are very few financial resources for these grandparents.

"The challenges of financially, legally and health wise are big for many of the grandparents, you know, they're living on a limited income, some of them have to go back to work," she says. "Health wise, maybe they don't have the energy or the physical, physical strength of a 25 year old. And then the legal issues. Many times, they have to find ways of getting something formal in place in order to be the representative or responsible for the child, making those academic decisions or medical decisions on [their] behalf."

A third bill would help kinship families get licensed more quickly. That’s another hurdle facing grandparents who want to step in, says Domiguez. Gov. Doug Ducey once again called for raising the stipend in his 2022 State of the State address.

Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.