Grandparents continue to suffer
Tuesday, 29 August 2006
Anniversary of inaction as grandparents continue to suffer
Grandparents raising their grandchildren are still suffering as they continue to wait on the government to fulfil its promise made a year ago to increase kinship carer payments to the level given to foster parents, says United Future deputy leader Judy Turner.
"I find it deplorable that the Labour Government is stone-walling what should be a simple remedy to assist grandparents and other kinship carers," says Mrs Turner.
"I have had yet another grandparent contact my office from Dunedin, describing the hardship they have faced paying for extra child-related expenses on the Unsupported Child's Benefit, since taking responsibility for their two grandchildren at the request of Child, Youth and Family.
"They asked Work and Income New Zealand for financial assistance to buy school shoes for their grandchildren, but were told that they are not entitled to any help, such as clothing allowances, that foster parents are entitled to receive.
"Because these grandparents, and many others around the country are selfless enough to step into the breach when these children need them, the government thinks it can penalise them and offer less assistance than foster carers would receive if they were looking after the same children instead.
"It's nearly a year since Labour promised to close the gap and 'offer grandparents raising grandchildren and other carers on a pension, particularly those taking on caring due to a family breakdown, to provide them with the sort of allowances provided to foster parents'.
"Well why are they still waiting a year on with nothing done?
"It's time the government stopped taking advantage of people who are doing these children and society a huge favour at considerable financial and emotional strain to themselves, and extend to kinship carers the same provisions available to foster parents as they promised nearly a year ago," says Mrs Turner.