Grandparents raising grandchildren fighting for greater government support will today meet with members of Tasmania's Upper House to discuss their plight and argue for kids' needs.
Kin Raising Kids secretary Frank Tyers said all Legislative Council members had been invited to attend the meeting. "There have been some very supportive people from that group [of MLCS] and we have been wanting to meet with them for quite a while," Mr Tyers said.
"We want to make them aware of what we do, what we stand for and if something does come up in the House of Assembly, we want to make sure that they are conscious of what the needs are."
Grandparents and kinship carers with the full-time care of others' children often face financial, psychological, legal, medical and social challenges. Despite saving kids from entering the state's expensive foster care system many informal carers receive no government assistance.
Earlier this year, Human Service Minister Roger Jaensch hinted that some assistance for kinship carers might be forthcoming.
In March, he said the government valued grandparents and other relatives who cared for the children who could not live at home with their parents.
"I understand the concerns Kin Raising Kids Tasmania have raised in our meetings, and government is currently investigating ways these carers' needs and circumstances can be addressed," he said.
It is unsure what the government is currently investigating. Mr Tyers understands that "some announcement is being made about support for informal carers, but they haven't detailed it yet".
"There are certain things that they need to cross, the hardest thing is getting the numbers so they can budget for it," he said.
Mr Tyers, 71, has raised his three tween grandchildren since they were babies in nappies, and tirelessly campaigns for informal carers.
He said five recommendations that were made at a Kin Raising Kids forum in April would also be discussed with the MLCS.
These included the concept of a "Grace Card", that could operate like a Seniors Card to provide carers and their children with discounts on uniforms and other essential need items, as well as plans for a state kinship carer conference to be held in Launceston in 2020.
"We also want to look at mentoring and tutoring support for kinship carers, particularly in light of the fact that so many are computer illiterate but need to help the kiddies who have to work with computers."
Kin Raising Kids' annual meeting is on October 22 at Zeps in Campbell Town at 11am for grandparent carers, followed by a discussion of the out of home care system.