As a father, I know that raising children is extremely rewarding, but also very challenging at times. So imagine having to do this at a time of your life when you should be slowing down.
When your peers are retiring, spending more time in the garden or enjoying relaxing family time, thousands of grandparents and great-grandparents across the country are raising a family all over again - their grandchildren.
In 2009-10 there were 16,000 grandparent families in Australia, where the grandparents were the main carers of children aged under 17 years.
Grandparents often take on this role formally or informally in times of crisis, because their own children are not able to provide safe or effective parenting due to a range of issues such as substance misuse, mental illness, criminal detention, and domestic and family violence. Sadly, many of these children are often experiencing complex challenges as a result of trauma or neglect, poor physical and mental health and complex behavioural issues. As you can imagine, many grandparents struggle to support their grandchildren.
This Easter our appeal aims to raise awareness of those raising their grandchildren and to generate much needed funds. Our Grandparents Raising Grandchildren service is a vital program which offers a range of initiatives to equip grandparents with the skills and confidence they need to perform this challenging role.
The service is an individualised support program which includes family case management, connection to other available support services and respite support, and is underpinned by an early intervention and prevention approach for children to support their improved wellbeing, within socio-economically disadvantaged areas.
Our fundraising appeal shows just what a challenging experience it is. But it is vital that we intervene early in these young people’s lives to give them the care and support they need to overcome their challenging start in life.
Because we don’t all start from an equal place, but everyone deserves an equal opportunity and with the right supports we can help them achieve their goals.
CEO Mission Australia