Support sought on special bill

Published 6:45 pm Wednesday, September 24, 2008

JACKSON—One women is trying to lighten the load for grandparents and relatives raising children that are not their own.

At last week’s Northampton County Board of Commissioners’ meeting, Marjorie Edwards came before the board to ask support for legislation she is trying to introduce to the General Assembly.

Edwards, who is a member of the Northampton Board of Education, told the commissioners she was seeking their support for a bill she was trying to introduce to the North Carolina General Assembly that would help family member caregivers.

She noted how children are now days are being raised by relative caregivers, including grandparents, who are in need of assistance.

Edwards said she has spoken to State Senator Ed Jones, who happened to be sitting in on the commissioners’ meeting.

Despite numerous phone calls placed by the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Edwards could not be reached for comment regarding the specifics of the bill she’s trying to introduce.

Edwards did not go into the specifics at the meeting as to the kind of legislation she is trying to introduce, but she noted her involvement with legislation in New Jersey.

“This bill proved to be very, very helpful to the state of New Jersey,” she said.

Though not confirmed by Edwards as being that piece of legislation she was involved with, in 2004 the “Kinship Legal Guardian Notification Act” was passed by the New Jersey General Assembly.

The act allows the appointment of a kinship legal guardian for children and allows the guardian to have the same rights as parents with the exception of giving consent for adoption of the child or name change.

The act also directs the New Jersey Department of Human Services to notify the guardian to what government and community programs they are eligible for.

Commission Chair Robert Carter said the board holds the same sentiment as Edwards

“This is an issue we need to put before the state,” he said.

Senator Jones acknowledged at the meeting that he had spoken with Edwards and planned to speak with her more in the future regarding her concerns.