Wanslea advocates to Government for Grandparent Carers

On Tuesday 6 June 2023, Wanslea CEO Jo Sadler, Ms Zaneta Mascarenhas MP Labor Member for Swan,Wanslea’s Grandcare team and grandparent carers shared an informal morning tea in Wanslea’s Cloverdale office.

November 12, 2021
5 mins
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The morning tea was an opportunity for Wanslea and grandparent carers to raise awareness of the challenges grandparent carers face and to further progress advocacy efforts for policy changes to recognise the critical role they play in caring for their grandchildren.


“It was a really lovely morning, and we were so grateful to have grandparent carers Lorraine and Lorry attend and share with us their lived experience as grandparent carers.Both say that the biggest challenges they face are financial, navigating systems and being recognised in their formal caring roles by both State and Commonwealth Government agencies.


“Grandparent and kinship carers are significantly overlooked when it comes to funding and support from Government. In a Wanslea-led group research project, we found that the majority of grandparent carers live below the poverty line. The system is difficult for them to navigate, with red tape making it almost impossible for grandparent carers to gain the financial support they need to allow them to care for their grandchildren.” Jo Sadler said.


As part of he rcampaign and the Federal Government’s 2023 Budget, Ms Mascarenhas’ focus is on alleviating the cost of living for WA families and supporting people doing it tough.


“It was amazing to meet so many amazing grandparent carers at Wanslea’s morning tea event. I know the dedication and love they provide is so important to the lives of their grandchildren. I commend Wanslea on the work they’re doing to support grandparent carers in our community.” Said Zaneta Mascarenhas.


A grandparent carer is a grandparent that takes over the primary care of their grandchildren,full-time.  Some of the factors that lead to this occurring may be due to the child’s parents experiencing mental health issues, family violence, homelessness, imprisonment, family breakdown, or substance abuse.


Wanslea currently provides support to grandparent carers through the delivery of its State-funded Grandcare program, which assists grandparent carers in applying for the Grandcarer Support Scheme (GSS) payment, as well as providing support to access other services, support groups and exploring social connections and respite options.


The grandparent carers Wanslea supports are considered informal and as a part of the GSS, are eligible to receive a payment of $1,000 per year, per grandchild. Grandparent carers have expressed that particularly with the rising cost of living, this payment while helpful, barely covers the cost of essentials such as clothes and shoes.


Over the last five years, demand for support from Wanslea by grandparent carers has increased by 10%annually. Without a commensurate increase in funding, it has become increasingly difficult for Wanslea to keep up with demand to continue to support the needs of grandparent carers.


From 2017 - 2019 Wanslea and partners Lotterywest, Grandparents Rearing Grandchildren WA (GRG),Curtin University and Edith Cowan University, along with members of the Grandparent Carer Research Advisory and Working Groups, conducted a research project into the impact of the caring role on grandparents raising their grandchildren; producing ‘A Fairer Future for Grandchildren’ report in 2021.


The report highlights the key issues and challenges grandparent carers face and outlines a clear call to action to Government, which Wanslea CEO Jo Sadler is very passionate about progressing.


“We want to get the word out about grandparent carers’ integral role in not only the lives of their grandchildren, but also within child protection systems and our community. Ultimately, support for grandparent carers means care for children.


“We’re advocating for the Commonwealth Government to make regular payments to all kinship carers,make changes to the Family Tax Benefit so that the payment follows the child and remove activity requirements for grandparent carers to access benefits.


“We really appreciated Ms Mascarenhas’ time and support today, and her encouragement for Wanslea to continue in its plight to advocate for grandparent carers.” She said.