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Legal guardians of Tennessee children whose parents cannot care for them because of drug addiction often face serious financial issues. This burden often falls to grandparents, aunts and uncles who want to ensure these children enjoy a stable upbringing. 

Tennessee lawmakers may offer minor guardians relief with a new child support law that provides them with payments from a state-sponsored program. 

Details of the proposed bill   

According to a local ABC news affiliate, the bill would release untapped money from the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families fund and release it in the form of child support assistance to families who are raising kids whose parents are currently in jail or absent because of opioid abuse. The creator of the bill, a Tennessee senator, proposes that the Department of Children Services distributes these payments for any relative currently raising children of opioid-addicted parents. 

Additional qualification guidelines 

Grandparents in Tennessee have a variety of custody rights when raising their grandkids, but they may have some new guidelines to follow if this bill becomes a law. One caveat includes that the child must be under the age of 16, while another states the caregiver must be 21 years of age or older and a judge must approve the guardianship. Relatives who hope to benefit from this bill may not qualify if they cannot prove legal guardianship. 

This child support bill currently sits in the subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary, and those who support it hope to see progress in the coming months. Relatives of children who may benefit if the bill passes may want to obtain legal assistance to ensure proper funding.