McCurdy stands up for local kinship carers

Thursday 21 March 2019

Nationals Member for Ovens Valley Tim McCurdy has raised the plight of local kinship carers in Parliament, highlighting the challenges faced by those caring for children who cannot live with their parents.

Mr McCurdy told Parliament yesterday kinship carers were an extraordinary group of people who found themselves, for one reason or another, looking after family members due to circumstances beyond their control.

“Often it is a grandparent looking after grandchildren, or an aunty or an uncle supporting children without parents,” Mr McCurdy said.

“There is a massive need for support workers to assist kinship carers to access services and help them to understand what they can and cannot get help with.

“A support worker with eight to 10 clients appears to be the threshold to ensure a fair level of support, and the number of kinship carers far exceeds the availability of support workers in my region.”

Mr McCurdy said there was a fundamental difference between the support provided to kinship carers compared to foster carers.

“Logically it would make far more sense, both mentally and financially, for a relative to support a child or children, but when a child is not well supported by a relative they then fall into the foster care system or into residential care,” he said.

“That is not an ideal result for the child or the state.

“In most cases a family member is the best person to support the child, but often the carer does not own a car large enough to transport the children to school or a house large enough to house them.”

Mr McCurdy said early intervention and support could make so much difference to the child and their kinship carer.

He has asked the Minister for Child Protection to meet with local kinship carers to hear firsthand the issues they face.

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