Rockingham grandparents call on state to increase support

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

Rockingham locals caring for their grandkids are calling for change over the gap in support they receive compared to foster carers.

Grandparents caring for their grandchildren (grandcarers) get $400 a year. Those in the foster system get more than that a fortnight.

Di Christie and Kathy Doyle, co-founders of Families Raising Families in Rockingham, were critical of the lack of support from the government.

“Anybody who makes that choice to raise a member of their family that they haven’t given birth to get nothing, all we get is the family tax benefit,” Ms Christie said. “There is no ... support other than the $400 benefit. It’s the reason we started our group, so that others in the same position have somewhere to turn to.”

The pay difference depends on whether a child has been placed into foster care first, or if they’ve gone straight into the care of a family member. “If we had chosen to allow our children to become a foster child and then bring them back into the family as a foster carer, the base rate from nought to four is $400 a week, non-taxable and non-declarable, you can go to work full-time and not lose that $400.

“On top of that, their clothing, health insurance, car insurance is paid for by the department. School uniforms, pocket money, anything to do with that child growing is paid for, grandcarers get nothing.”

Child Protection Minister Simone McGurk said eligible grandcarers could apply for $400 a year for the first child in their care and $250 for each child after that through the Grandcarers Support Scheme. Call the support group, 0451 317 161, or go to FRF Facebook page.

She said the WA government had made an an election commitment to triple the support payments for grandcarers.

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