Commission on the Status of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

On July 8, 2008 the Child Advocate bill was signed into law which included the establishment of the Commission on the Status of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren. (Section 1 of Chapter 176, the Acts of 2008 M.G.L. Chapter 3, section 69. This legislation calls for a permanent commission on the status of grandparents raising grandchildren which consists of 11 persons who have demonstrated a commitment to grandparents.
Click here for a one page (PDF) description of the Grandparent Commission.

The Commissioners

The Commission

John Lepper, Chair
Lynn Girton, Vice-Chair
Kerry Bickford, Secretary/Treasurer
Margo Chevers, Commissioner
Jeff Quinn, Commissioner
Manuela DaCosta, Commissioner
Paul Donato, Commissioner
Patricia Jehlen, Commissioner
Lori Sousa, Commissioner
Sheila Donahue-King, Commissioner
Click the member name to see the member's profile.

The Commissionís primary purpose is to serve as a "resource to the commonwealth on issues affecting grandparents raising grandchildren."

The Commissionís responsibilities include:

  • Fostering unity among grandparents raising grandchildren, communities and organizations in the commonwealth, by promoting cooperation and sharing of information and encouraging collaboration and joint activities;

  • Serving as a liaison between government and private interest groups with regard to the unique interest and concern to grandparents raising grandchildren;

  • Advising executive and legislative bodies of the potential effect of proposed legislation on grandparents raising grandchildren, as the commission deems necessary and appropriate;

  • And identifying issues that are faced by relatives, other than parents, who are raising children. Currently, the Commission meets monthly at various locations around the state. These meetings are open to the public.and posted at

The Commission spent itís first year (2009-10) conducting a Learning Tour across the state, in order to identify the issues that were of most concern to grandparents and kin,. Based upon an analysis these findings, the Commission created four sub-committees to further explore the most urgent issues and begin to make appropriate recommendations. They are:

  1. Legal information and access to legal services

  2. Information and Referral / Interagency collaboration / Navigating the system

  3. Economic support and self sufficiency

  4. Strategies to create and sustain support groups for grandparents and kin across the state

We are hoping that this website is a place we can share information and tools that reflect the work we are doing on each of these issues, and we welcome your input, questions, corrections and comments!

To contact the Commission:

Mail: Commission on the Status of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
c/o Executive Office of Elder Affairs, One Ashburton Place, Boston, MA 02108
Grandparent phone line: 508-771-4336

Brought to you by the Grandparents of Massachusetts