Informal kinship carers are falling through the cracks of a system not designed to support them.
That’s the view of a voluntary lobby group, who has been working tirelessly with both the state and federal governments to provide more support for grandparents who are informally raising their grandchildren.
Kin Raising Kids secretary Frank Tyers said the group had met with both state and federal representatives in Tasmania to garner support for increased support services for informal kin carers raising grandchildren.
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“The feedback has been quite positive, but it has been delayed a lot due to the coronavirus,” Mr Tyers said.
Mrs Cashion said financial constraints and supporting the children through medical and education expenses had stretched them to breaking point.
She said no support had ever been given to her beyond Tasmania’s Child Safety Service initially investigating her case.
However, she was advised in February that CSS was closing her case as the children were deemed safe. Mrs Cashion said she felt there were no services available to help people like herself or to direct them to places who could provide monetary or other assistance.
Mr Tyers said a major problem with the system was there was no support service to direct kin carers to where they could find help. He also said there was a level of distrust among the kinship community about the government departments and many felt they didn’t do enough.
“We get feedback that many grandparents don’t like to go to the department, they don’t like to get them involved,” Mr Tyers said.
He said Kin Raising Kids was in the process of holding digital seminars to help collate a directory of support services to assist kinship carers seeking services.
The work should be complete by the end of the month, or early September.
Kinship carers in other states are supplemented financially at a rate equal to formal foster carers.
In Tasmania, kinship carers are not supported financially at all but can access some federal support. A federal government spokesman said the primary responsibility for child protection and out-of-home care lay with states and territories.
However, grandparent carers may be eligible for family assistance payments through Centrelink, such as Family Tax Benefit A and B, the Parenting Payment, the Child Care Subsidy and the Foster Child Health Care Card.