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Turner: Grandparents still waiting in the dark

Media statement
For immediate release
Monday, 12 February 2007


Turner: Grandparents still waiting in the dark

United Future family issues spokesperson Judy Turner is pleased by the $10 week reduction in the gap between rates given to grandparents raising grandchildren and foster carers, but is calling for the Minister to finally express some timeframes for when grandparents can expect the same funding as foster carers.

“I am pleased that the funding gap is being closed by $10 – but this is still far short of giving grandparents the same rates as foster carers to support the children in their care.

“Labour promised back in 2005 to give grandparents the same support that they would get if they were fostering – but now in 2007 they are still waiting.

“In 2006, the carer payment gap actually increased between kin-carers and foster carers, so it’s pleasing that this gap will close a little after April 1.

“However, kin-carers are still ineligible to apply for grants for items such as school shoes, Christmas presents and other one-off purchases that foster carers are entitled to.

“I met last year with Ministry of Social Development officials and Mr Benson-Pope to try and speed up the process and resolve any barriers that may be stopping carer rates becoming aligned – but grandparents have been waiting in the dark for too long without being told what is happening.

“It is time the Minister told those waiting for their benefit to improve, exactly where proceedings are at and a date by which they will have the extra support they have been promised,” Mrs Turner says.

ENDS

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