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Grandparents and other relatives raising kin children in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

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Presentation on theme: "Grandparents and other relatives raising kin children in Aotearoa/New Zealand."— Presentation transcript:

1 Grandparents and other relatives raising kin children in Aotearoa/New Zealand

2 GRG TRUST NZ  Founded by Diane Vivian in 1999  Membership 5,212 caregivers  48 Support/Coffee Groups from Far North to Invercargill  Run by a Board of Trustees  Auckland office

3 GRG staff  2 fulltime equivalents  Geoff Lawson: CEO  Diane Vivian: Member Support Manager  Diana East: training facilitator (Wgtn)  Nola Adams: prison/youth justice, self representation in court /advice (Napier)  Sharon Lee: counseling/dealing with challenging children (Auckland)  Tricia Corin: WINZ and IRD advocate/benefits (Thames)

4 What we do  Provide information, advice, advocacy  New member welcome pack  GRG Handbook  Support groups/training  Bi-annual members conference  0800 Help/Support Line 24x7  Picnic  Camps for kids working with KidsAcool/Respite care

5 What we do continued  Monthly Newsletter  Website  Facebook page  E-coffee groups using Skype  Research – major studies in 2005 and 2009  Policy development & lobbying  Strategic partnerships

6 Newsletters “They (the newsletters) are most gratefully received I can assure you and help so much when we are feeling overwhelmed by the responsibility we have taken on.”

7 GRG Picnic “Just to mention I had a fantastic time meeting people at the local GRG picnic saw 240 families attend.

8 GRG Picnic

9 GRG Support Groups “I am so glad I did join GRG, it has been so good for me...and I have met some lovely people. Thanks again for all that you do for us and the children.”

10 GRG Coordinator Training Day “Thank you for the wonderful two days. The seminar was so informative and also made us realise we don’t stand alone”

11 Children’s Camps “At camp I seem to be more confident than I am. Sometimes I must overcome something that scares me like swimming in open water, which was definitely fun.” “Thank you very much for arranging a camp. We really had fun thanks. Our whole family really appreciated it so much.”

12 Facts & Figures  11,899 children receiving the UCB  163,000 or 15% of children classified as “vulnerable”  $100m+ savings to taxpayers by grandparents raising grandchildren  $250,000 cost of raising a child to 18 = $14,000 or $270 per week  Average UCB = $169 GAP = $100 per week

13 Facts & Figures continued  $340 National Super per week for 50% of GRGs who are solo caregivers  2,633 phone calls per year to GRG head Office = 50+ per week  33% = GRG members without the internet

14 The battle for parity  Important issue and major focus for GRG  GRGs do not receive the same level of support as foster carers receive  This is morally wrong  We will continue to fight this battle  However other battles are more winnable at this time!!!  This presentation and GRG’s current strategy is focused on the things we can do

15 Doing better by them at the grassroots   Operating for over 13 years has taught us many things but the essence of what we have learnt is this:   Grandparents raising grandchildren need grass-roots support in the area in which they reside as well as national support

16 Doing better by them at the grassroots continued   This support needs to be practical, easily accessible, local and provided in a safe, secure, caring and non- threatening environment.   This presentation identifies the key needs of grandparents raising grandchildren and provides an innovative framework for doing a better job in meeting those needs.

17 Why the grandparents  Generally considered the best environment for the grandchildren  “Blood”/whanau connection is very strong  Love and commitment  Sense of obligation  Because the alternative is basically unacceptable to many

18 What happens when the grandchildren arrive  Often unexpectedly and quickly  At times only with the clothes (or pyjamas) they are standing in  Children are scared and scarred  Sometimes grandparents are unprepared and often ill-equiped to cope with raising children in this modern world

19 Grandparents circumstances  More often than not a solo grandmother – around 50% of our members  Living in a small house/flat/unit  Often retired  National super as their only source of income ($340 per week for solo caregivers)

20 Impact on Grandparents  Brings unexpected and difficult life changes  Unattained dreams  Changes in family circumstances  Negative impact on mental and physical health  Issue of Self care – who cares for the carers  Shame and grief  Economic vulnerability  Net effect = stress & uncertainty

21 Priorities  Safety, security, stability  “Normalising” the grandchildren’s lives  Getting them to school  24 x 7 x 365 care (i.e. very little respite)  Accessing entitlements

22 Challenges  Securing entitlements  Understanding the school system  Helping with homework; what on earth is NCEA!!  Coping with technology; internet safety – that’s if they have a computer  Coping with the CYF, WINZ and the Family Court

23 Entitlements  Unsupported Child Benefit  Range $140-$196 per week  The GPs must demonstrate that there has been a family breakdown which can be frustrating and time consuming  The GPs must “prove” that they will be caring for the children for more than 12 months. Often not easy

24 What are GRG doing to help  Free membership to GRG  Information and advice  Advocacy particularly with respect to securing the UCB and dealing with CYF, WINZ and the Family Court system  0800 Helpline – 24x7x365  4 Field Officers = 1 FTE  48 Support Groups/Coffee Groups that provide safety, security, confidentiality, empathy, love and support  Training

25 GRG Funding  A constant battle as we all know GRG is grateful to receive funding from:  Community Organisation Grants Scheme (COGS)  CYF  Local councils  NZ Lotteries  Private trusts/ philanthropic organisations  Donations  Commitment to fund = Certainty

26 Strategic Partnerships  GRG places great emphasis on working with other “fellow travellers”  Our partnership with The Parenting Place has been hugely successful  Morning teas/training sessions for grandparents  Delivery of “Parenting” magazine to all GRG members  Major initiative was the launch of the Grandparents Toolbo x

27 Grandparents Toolbox  Significant initiative led by TPP  Modelled on the hugely successful “Parenting Toolbox”  Features a 9 hour instructional DVD programme plus manual  Tailored specifically to the needs of grandparents raising grandchildren  Provides specialised and practical grandparenting advice  Features 5 GRG members with their family stories including one grandchild who is being raised by her grandparents  Delivered free of charge to all GRG members

28 GRG Toolbox Promo

29 What have we learnt from the Toolbox exercise  Real stories/real experiences  What our grandparents need  What our grandchildern need – an area that has not received enough attention = research priority  That there is a great diversity of needs

30 What they are saying about the toolbox   We have learned so much even from the bit we have seen. I am longing to be able to sit down now and finish it!   I made my partner John sit down and watch it with me. Now John, is an old, grumpy but a lovable rogue and a hard nut to crack, and when the Tool Box arrived he absolutely rubbished it without even looking at it! But, all the way through he was saying "Oh, yes, I can see how that would work, or yes, that's a great idea" so I am thrilled. John is now the greatest fan! So congratulations to all of you concerned.   I was absolutely desperate to get this resource as I have been at my wits end.

31 What they are saying about the toolbox cont.   I am very happy with it.   I have recommended it to other family who are raising and they have joined GRG to get the DVD and more information   My friend and I are sharing the DVD’s, fabulous.   It’s real and so great that real grandparents are in it also. That has impact.   Not easy raising troubled children and this has given me different strategies, thank you.   Something just for US…….

32 Training & Development - SALT  Sharing and Learning Together  Started in 2011  One day workshop involves small groups (up to 15) working with 2 professional facilitators  10 workshops held so far  Represents a significant investment by GRG in informal learning based on adult learning principles

33 SALT workshop content  Focuses on finding the key strengths within  Allows our members to grow stronger  Identifies and uses the strength of resilience  Provides tools for self-improvement

34 SALT feedback  “Great information given very sensitively by real professionals”  “Well worth the effort GRG has put into providing the workshop”  “I came along wanting confidence and have gained that and a lot more. I discovered there is nothing I would change in my circumstances, what I am doing, except my attitude. I now don’t feel a ‘victim’ or so alone and helpless. I feel stronger and confident that I am doing well in coping with the circumstances I have found myself in”

35 What needs to be done? More of the same plus  Raising our profile  Trumpeting success  Acknowledging the ribbon of grief while emphasising what helps grandparents cope  Ensuring that our support groups are well led and resourced and have a solid framework of good practice principles  Providing specialist learning opportunities  Equiping our families with the right tools

36 Raising our profile  Spreading the word  Using social media/FB page  Media exposure  Strategic partnerships  Greater diversity of fundraising  Localising fundraising/engaging local businesses and service groups  Making it easy to donate from our web site

37 Trumpeting success  Focus on highlighting and promoting success rather than the negative sides  Revamping the GRG web site to reflect this  “Happy Stories”  8 is enuf - we have a family where a couple (extended whanau) are raising 8 children – this is a wonderful success story

38 Ribbon of grief  It’s important to acknowledge what we call the ribbon of grief  The “unspoken” grief that is the “loss” of a son or daughter – often not even thought of  Coping with addiction and mental illness  Shame and blame  Recognising the grieving process  Emphasising what helps grandparents cope

39 Support group development  Moving from support groups that have “just grown” to a support group structure based on a solid framework of good practice principles  Ensuring they are well led and adequately resourced  Providing training and on-going day-to- day support for coordinators

40 Support groups in our towns  Anchoring support groups in our towns  Reaching out as a community; establishing a “community coalition”  Networking and engaging with local service organisations  Encouraging community “self-help”  Establishing a register of volunteers to assist grgs – property maintenance, repairs, carpentry, handyman jobs, shopping, respite care

41 Increase “Strengthening Families” capability  Wonderful MSD initiative  Very empowering  Work to make SF universally available  Greater collaboration with other agencies/ngos

42 Learning opportunities  Continuing our Support Group Coordinators training programme, noting that the SGCs are themselves grandparents raising grandchildren and time is precious  Providing more specialist learning opportunities for grandparents  Continue the SALT programme

43 Providing the right tools  One third of our families do not have internet access  We need to put computers in homes  We need to find a way of providing free internet access  Major focus for GRG and a key driver of our community coalition initiative  This has a major impact on learning opportunities

44 What do we need to do it?  Gain certainty of funding  Make a greater investment in advocacy  Need to put the resources into the towns where the GRGs reside  Adopt a “community based” rather than an “organisation based” approach in each town = community coalition

45 Finally  Thank you so much for your attendance and attention today  We are all part of the community which must “do better by them”  When we next come to you, you will know exactly what we want to achieve  You are an integral part of the solution  Let’s give these children what most of us take for granted everyday

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