Grandparents who care full time for their grandchildren

Grandparents who care full time for their grandchildren
Wednesday 25 July, 1400 – 1500

Abstract
Despite grandparent care being the fastest growing form of out of home care for Australian children, little is known about the profile of grandparents and the barriers and enablers in different aspects of their carer role. The literature is reasonably developed regarding the experiences of grandparent carers, but with limited understanding of the impact of the caring role on their lives. The result is grandparent carers are often a hidden population, with a complex and likewise hidden policy and service framework to identify and address their needs. There is mounting evidence of improved outcomes for children placed in kinship care, alongside evidence of the struggles – emotional, financial, health, familial and social – that grandparents face in raising their grandchildren. Further, grandparents find themselves interfacing with multiple service providers, often having to advocate strongly – and in isolation – for themselves and their grandchildren. Understanding the specific needs of grandparent carers is essential to inform the development of improved, appropriate and sustainable policies and practices for grandparent carers. This in turn ensures structures can be put in place to sustain grandparents in their caring role and create best possible outcomes for the children in their care. This symposium will provide an overview and preliminary progress on a large research being undertaken in WA by four organizations – Wanslea, Community Vision, Curtin University, and Edith Cowan University – examining the implications of the caring role for grandparents, the voice of grandchildren, and the service and policy pathways for grandparents.