Grandparents are family, not foster parents: CWA
THE voice of the Country Women's Association of NSW is joining the growing chorus of people calling for grandparents as carers of their grandchildren to be recognised as family rather than as foster carers.
Decision makers in government will be targeted as the CWA seeks change around grandparent versus foster carer status and the surrounding rules.
NSW chief executive officer Danica Leys said the CWA has good access to state politicians when they need and want to advocate for change.
"It's just a matter of how the government chooses to prioritise this issue going forward," Ms Leys said.
"We will be talking to other like-minded organisations as well and seeing if we can as a collective get a bit of a push-on with this issue."
State president Annette Turner will lead the powerful voice of 400 branches state-wide, most of whom will take up the role of advocating for change through their local contacts.
Ms Leys said this year's state conference adopted the grandparent policy as part of the process of looking at the issues around the changing face of families in the bush.
"The grandparents position was bought to our conference in May from a Riverina area branch," she said.
"They had been noticing this issue across their area.
"At the conference the motion passed unanimously.
"It was surprising to me that so many people got up and spoke quite passionately about it, and also spoke from a very personal point of view.
"It's quite surprising how many people are affected by this issue."
Ms Leys said she learned from that debate there are a lot of grandparents caring for their grandchildren on either a full-time or close to full-time basis, acting as the child's primary carer and often as their parent.
"This is happening more and more across the state," she said.
"One of the biggest reasons our members are telling us is there are issues particularly around substance abuse in lots of regional communities."