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 individuals 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
Paul Donato, Commissioner
Patricia Jehlen, Commissioner
Lori Sousa, Commissioner
Douglas H Spicer, Commissioner
Skip Stuck, Commissioner
Ilene Mitchell, Commissioner
John Laing, Commissioner
Dan Lewis, Commissioner
Denise Bradley, Commissioner
Gail Garinger, Commissioner
Colleen Pritoni, GRG Coordinator
Select the member's name to view their profile.

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

The Commission’s 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 it’s 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 		 Lynn Girton, chair

  2. Information and Referral / Interagency 				 Kerry Bickford, chair
    collaboration / Navigating the system 				 Skip Stuck, co-chair

  3. Economic support and self sufficiency 				 John Lepper, chair

  4. Strategies to create and sustain support groups 		 Margo Cheevers, chair
    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 Colleen Pritoni, GRG Coordinator, 600 Washington Street, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02111
Telephone: 617-748-2454

Brought to you by the Grandparents of Massachusetts