Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Helping grandparents caring for grandchildren

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, today announced Australian Government funding of $310,000 for 10 projects that will assist grandparents who have primary care of their grandchildren

“There are more than 27,700 children under the age of 15 years living with their grandparents only. This is more than twice the number of children living in foster care.

“They do an amazing job in what are often difficult circumstances. Grandchildren often come into the care of their grandparents as a result of a tragic event or situation. There is a lot that they have to deal with at a time in their lives that they would not have expected to have primary care of children.

“This $310,000 funding will enable new projects to be undertaken across Australia to better understand the issues faced by these families and provide an opportunity for grandparents to share their experiences with other grandparents.

“Two Western Australia projects, for example, in collaboration with other key service providers, offer the opportunity to develop key research information and training resources for grandparents that will have relevance across Australia. The Tasmanian, Queensland, New South Wales and Victorian projects will also provide information in particular regional settings and specific communities.

“This funding builds on the Government’s response to the COTA National Seniors report Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, which received $150,000 Australian Government funding. The report called on more recognition and support for the important job these remarkable grandparents do do.

“We have also provided $150,000 to the Mirabel Foundation to update their booklet When the children arrive … for national release. This booklet is an important resource that provides advice and information on a range of services to help grandparents raise children.

“Child protection issues are primarily the responsibility of State and Territory Governments but it is the Australian Government that has taken the lead on the critical issue of support for grandparent carers.

“I encourage my State and Territory counterparts to recognise the enormous contribution that these amazing grandparents make and provide them with the same support as foster carers,” Mr Anthony said.

Grandparent Projects
Project: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
Organisation: Meerilinga Young Children’s Foundation Inc.
Location: Perth, WA
Funding: $50 000
Description: A series of sessions for grandparents focussing on parenting practices, child development, key transitions and managing systematic family issues.
The series will also be used as an action-research opportunity to develop a web application and handbook for distribution to other service providers.
Project: A Support and Education Program for Grandparents who are Parenting Grandchildren
Organisation Marymead
Location: Canberra ACT
Funding: $30 000
Description: For the development and staging of a two day residential support and education conference for grandparents and their grandchildren and the development and production of an information kit and a website for grandparents.
Project: “Why living with my grandparents is so… good”- Identifying resiliencies and coping skills in children in the long-term care of their grandparents – a focus group approach
Contact Name: Curtin University
Location: Perth, WA
Funding: $62,000
Description: WANSLEA Family Services & Fairbridge Community School are planning two weekend ‘family’ programs for grandparents and 40 children in the long term care of their grandparents. The program will involve a qualitative focus group approach and follow-up after the camp, essential to determine how the children have reacted and to see what changes are perceived by the grandparents.
Project: Education workshops for Tasmanian grandparents raising grandchildren
Organisation: Early Support for Parents (ESP)
Location: South, North and Northwest regions of Tasmania.
Funding: $43,000
Description: The workshops will assist parenting grandparents to recognise and understand the needs of children in their care and to develop skills and confidence in parenting.
There will be a series of four one-day workshops, facilitated by qualified professionals in each region. Topics will include loss and grief; understanding child development and appropriate play; challenging behaviours; support services; and self care. The workshops will bring grandparent carers together to reduce social isolation, share skills & potentially form support groups later.
Project: Information Seminars for Kinship Carers
Organisation: The Mirabel Foundation
Location: Regional Victoria, Sydney and Tweed Heads, NSW
Funding: $80,000
Description: Full day information sessions will be run in partnership with Centrelink around a range of issues that carers face. These include child care, grief ounseling, parenting issues as well as financial and legal issues. Each session will provide an option of follow up support to address individual issues
Project: Grandparent Care Contacts
Organisation Connect the Coast Association Inc
Location: Queensland
Funding: $5,000
Description: To create a resource for grandparenting groups with information on problems which may be experienced.
Project: YAB-A-GAR – Cultural Resources
Organisation Murri and Torres Strait Islander Network Inc
Location: Woodridge – Logan, Queensland
Funding: $6,700
Description: 5 art workshops and purchase of additional camping resources to support family cultural activities
Project: North Peninsula Association Grandparents as Carers Forum
Organisation North Peninsula Area Women’s Shelter ATSI Corporation
Location: Bamaga, Queensland
Funding: $5,500
Description: 2 workshops
Project: Grandparent Playgroup Program
Organisation Playgroup Queensland
Location: Queensland
Funding: $11,600
Description: 2 workshops for grandparents who are full time carers of their grandchildren. Will use action research methodology to work with grandparents, establish their needs with respect to playgroups and pilot 2 playgroups to identify best practice standards.
Playgroup Queensland will work in partnership with the Office of Seniors, the Pensioners League and two Senior Citizen’s Centres
Project: Assistance for Grandparent Carers
Organisation: Mission Australia Nowra
Location: Shoalhaven and far South Coast region of New South Wales
Funding: $31,540
Description: Assist parenting grandparents to recognise and understand the needs of children in their care and to develop skills and confidence in parenting. Promote and conduct information session to normalise grief, loss and anger and referral to appropriate follow-up services. The workshops will assist grandparent carers to develop support and self-help mechanisms.