The financial difficulties faced by grandparents raising grandchildren have been ignored by governments for years, says a former Liberal state candidate.
Heather Woodward was preselected in 2005 for the North-West seat of Braddon and, as part of her campaign, door-knocked her way across the region.
At that time, Mrs Woodward learned a $150 clothing allowance for grandparent carers was only being paid to grandparents in the south, leaving those in the North and North-West with nothing.
She said the overall lack of financial assistance was "unbelievable".
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"In that time it became increasingly evident that there were a lot of people rearing their grandchildren and financially, it was really, really tough," Mrs Woodward said.
"The reality back then was that parents weren't raising the children but were still getting taxpayers' money. If that is the case now, and I strongly suspect it is, taxpayers money is not going to the children or the carers, and that is exactly where the money should go to give those children a better life."
Formal kinship carers who care for children under court orders receive state government carers payments and are eligible for Commonwealth payments, while informal carers are only eligible for Commonwealth payments.
Some informal grandparents do not receive this financial assistance despite being eligible.
This is because grandparents do not know about the payments or find it difficult to apply, they fear parents' reactions if they ask to get these payments transferred to them, or parents will not sign required documents that state that the children are living with the grandparents.
Mrs Woodward said she was disheartened to learn that there was still little support for grandparents and other kin carers in these situations.
"My thoughts are still just as strong for those people as they were back then ... these people deserve our utmost respect and support in every area so they can continue to care for these little ones," she said.
"There should be additional funding, and I believe the community would support that, but any current money going into the wrong hands should also be ending up with grandparent carers.
"Something definitely needs to change."
While poverty risks are one of the key issues faced by grandparents, other issues include physical and mental health concerns, expensive court proceedings, lack of respite care, and lack of support for children's emotional and other behavioural issues.
Grandparents also must juggle parental contact with the children, and in some cases are required to get restraining orders against the parents.
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