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Grandmas and aunties at risk of violence while caring for kids

Date published: Monday 16 October 2017

Category(ies): Media release

This National Carers Week, Baptist Care Australia highlights alarming new research which shows the extent of violence experienced by carers and children involved in kinship care placements in Victoria.
A report undertaken by Baptcare surveyed over 100 kinship carers looking after children related to them. Many were grandmothers or aunts of the children, and the study found that over half reported having direct experience of physical abuse and violence whilst caring for children.

"The findings of this study are really concerning, and the impact of the violence is significant," said Marcia Balzer, Executive Director of Baptist Care Australia.

"Kinship carers play an integral role in our child protection system, and without them, these children would be living in unacceptable circumstances or placed in some form of State care.

"National Carers Week is a really important time to recognise and celebrate the important contribution carers are making to the lives of vulnerable children. In this case, mostly grandmothers and aunties are putting their own lives on hold to look after their grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.

"It is totally unacceptable that these carers are often not eligible for any kind of government support, and have very few rights when advocating on behalf of the children in their care.
Kinship carers need an on-going commitment of funding and programs to support them, in raising children who can't be cared for by parents for whatever reason.

"Baptcare's important research has shed a light on the many difficulties experienced by kinship carers when they're trying to go the right thing by children. We all need to work with Government to find solutions for these problems" Ms Balzer said.

The full report can be found here.
ENDS

Kinship Care
"Kinship care" refers to the care provided by relatives or members of the child's social network when a child is unable to live at home with their parents and is the preferred placement option within the child protection system. Currently, there are 20,528 Australian children living in formal kinship care placements, and studies in the area suggest that informal kinship care may be three times more common and these prevalence rates continue to rise.
About Baptist Care Australia
The Baptist Care Australia network serves people in aged care, affected by family violence and homelessness, on low incomes, experiencing relationship breakdown, and affected by multigenerational disadvantage. Member organisations have an annual turnover of more than $700 million, employ more than 9000 staff and engage more than 2500 volunteers each year. Baptist Care Australia draws on the policy and operational expertise of members to advocate on issues such as social housing and homelessness, inequality and disadvantage, disability services, aged care, children and youth, and domestic and family violence.
Media inquiries: Marcia Balzer, Executive Director, 0402 971 710, marcia.balzer@baptistcareaustralia.org.au