In British Columbia and other Canadian regions, many grandparents have been tasked with the responsibility of raising their grandchildren. Estimates indicate that more than 11,000 families in B.C. alone are headed by grandparents. While grandparents should be applauded for taking on the obligation of raising yet another family, they are often unprepared for the responsibility.
Financially, it may impose hardships on older citizens who often have fixed incomes. Worsening the situation, many children being raised by their grandparents have experienced some form of trauma and may need more support than average children. Examples of situations that can leave children traumatized before entering grandparent care include parents with addiction problems or mental illnesses and parents who have been incarcerated.
The Parent Support Services Society of British Columbia has petitioned Premier Christy Clark demanding more support for grandparents who are legal guardians. Specifically, the society wants these grandparents to receive the same financial and social support afforded to foster parents. This includes a monthly benefit payment as well as access to child care, respite services and training programs.
Grounds for providing additional support already exist, according to a legal advocate for the support society. He points out that if many of these children went into foster care instead of grandparent homes, the government would spend money on them anyway. By providing additional support to grandparent-headed households, the children could remain in the family and still get the support they need. The government does offer several programs to help support grandparent caregivers, but the legal advocate says these programs often fall short in the level of support they provide.
Caring for and protecting the children of British Columbia is everyone’s goal. Grandparents and parents who cannot get the support they need may find a solution by speaking to a Vancouver lawyer experienced with family law issues.
Source: CBC News, “Grandparent caregivers: We need more support for our kids,” Roshini Nair, Aug. 08, 2016