Rockingham grandcarers upset after minimal payment boost

Headshot of Indigo Lemay-Conway
Indigo Lemay-ConwaySound Telegraph
Westerly Familiy Centre co-ordinator Tanya Miller with Families Raising Families founder Di Christie.
Camera IconWesterly Familiy Centre co-ordinator Tanya Miller with Families Raising Families founder Di Christie. Credit: Indigo Lemay-Conway/Sound Telegraph

Rockingham grandcarers are saying the fight to ensure they receive a fair payment will never end after the release of a “payment boost” from the State Government that still leaves them receiving just 10 per cent of the amount foster grandparents receive.

Up until October 31, grandparents caring for their grandchildren received an annual payment of $400 through the Grandcarers Support Scheme and $250 for each child after that. This has since increased to an annual payment of $1000 for each child in their care.

In comparison, grandparents who take care of their grandchildren that are in the foster system receive at least $409 a fortnight, which equals $10,634 a year.

Local grandcarer and founder of Families Raising Families in Rockingham, Di Christie, said while she had a “huge amount of gratitude” for Premier Mark McGowan following through with the “pre-election pledge of this money”, the increased payment was still not enough to provide lasting relief to struggling families.

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“I received the Premier’s press release first thing Monday morning — it is nowhere near enough, but for now it is finally a small bonus for our families after a decade-long battle to even get that $1000 per annum per child,” Ms Christie said.

“The ongoing fight to ensure all of us receive an amount of support closer to what the Federal and State governments are providing foster carers is not going to stop.

“I get my payment next month for my girls, but the school fees have gone up — same with car registration and petrol prices. The money is pretty much spent before I even get it.”

Child Protection Minister Simone McGurk said the payment increases were the first change to the rate since the scheme was established in 2013.

“The recent tripling of payments to the average grandfamily with two children through WA’s Grandcarers Support Scheme raises the bar significantly in terms of financial income support paid to grandcarers by the State Government,” Ms McGurk said.

“This has been welcomed by many grandcarers as a financial boost and recognition of the role they play in raising their grandchildren outside of the care system.”

The increased payments will begin this month and be backdated to July 1.

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