If you unexpectedly find yourself in the role of being a grandparent raising your grandchildren, it will likely raise a wide range of feelings – stress, fear, excitement, anger, guilt and maybe even a bit of terror.
If you, or someone you know, finds themselves in this situation, reaching out for support and information makes a lot of sense. Thankfully, there are some great supports available to help navigate a way forward in managing the emotional pressure and the financial realities of the new situation.
Whatever has happened for the grandchildren to end up in their grandparents’ care, it is likely to have been upsetting and possibly traumatic for everyone involved. So, it would be understandable if the grandchildren might also have mixed feelings about the new set-up and some extra supports for them might be worth considering, too.
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Trust NZ has a wealth of knowledge and resources to draw on. It has a great website packed with information, as well as support staff available on their 0800 number in times of need. The organisation is based on the lived experience of grandparents who have been through a similar situation, so they really get what grandparents are going through. At a more local level, at Homebuilders Family Services, we offer free one-to-one support for anyone caring for a child under 18 years of age. If you would like the chance to work through some more parenting strategies, or your caregiving role has left you feeling stressed and you want a chance to talk through what is happening, give us a call to access support. Homebuilders also has a youth counselling service and, in some situations, can offer one-to-one support with younger children.
Managing the extra financial pressure of caring for grandchildren is a continued pressure for many grandparents. There are a range of specific payments designed to assist with extra costs. These include a $350 Establishment Grant when a grandchild first comes into your care, a School and Year Start Up payment at the beginning of the school year to help with the cost of uniforms, stationery and so on.
There is also the Extra Ordinary Care Fund, an annual one-off payment that can help assist with costs such as extra tutoring when a student is struggling in a subject, or extra tuition for a child in an area where they are excelling such as sport or kapa haka. To find out more, contact Grandparents Raising Grandchildren or Homebuilders Family services and we can talk you through the criteria and the process of applying.
Free course: For Grandparents raising Grandchildren – find out about the Extraordinary Care Fund, School Start up payment and more; Wednesday October 19, 12.30pm to 2.30pm. All welcome.