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Grandparents still waiting for Labour promises

Grandparents still waiting for Labour party promises

11 September 2007
Media Release 11 September 2007

For Immediate Use

Grandparents still waiting for Labour party promises

The National Grandparents raising Grandchildren Trust is still waiting for the Labour Party's promise to provide financial equity to Grandparents raising their Grandchildren.

In September 2005, Prime Minister Helen Clark stated that the longstanding anomaly where grandparents receive approximately $3000 a year less in board payments than unrelated foster parents would be removed for the 700 superannuitant grandparents. This did not extend to those who were under 65, whether they were working or not.

In February the Hon Ruth Dyson announced a $10.00 a week increase to foster parents and $20.00 per week increase to all kin caregivers receiving the Unsupported Child Benefit. The anomaly still remains.

Additionally, unrelated foster parents also receive clothing allowances averaging $950 a year and can claim for school and medical expenses, holiday expenses and Christmas and Birthday allowances. Grandparents and other "kin carers" who take on custody or guardianship of children get only the unsupported child benefit.

The National Convener of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren™ Trust, Diane Vivian, said “while grandparents were pleased for the increase, they very often struggle to make ends meet, particularly when they are caring for children with severe psychological and physical problems arising out if the abuse and neglect they have suffered.”

Research commissioned by the Trust with 323 Grandparents who were raising their Grandchildren showed that many grandparents have had to return to the workforce, having retired, to make ends meet. Figures gained from Child youth and Family in November last year showed that over 50% of children who have come to the notice of Child Youth and Family are in extended family care, particularly Maori and Pacific Island children.

In addition, many families have voluntarily accepted responsibility when the children were deemed to be at risk, before Child Youth and Family had to intervene, and these families are not counted at all.


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