16 Dec 2013

Care group wants more certainty over payments

10:03 am on 16 December 2013

Grandparents raising their grandchildren say it would be a brave government to withdraw the extra $35 million they will get over the next four years.

The Government announced the new funding on Sunday. Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said it is in recognition of the difficult job people such as grandparents do when they take over the care of children.

Caregivers entitled to the Unsupported Child's Benefit or Orphan's Benefit will be able to receive the payments. A one-off establishment grant of $350 will be available when a child first comes into their care.

Caregivers will be eligible for help to pay for school uniforms, school fees and stationery. And from July next year, funding of up to $2000 a year will be available to provide help with the costs for children who are either experiencing difficulties that affect their development or who are showing promise.

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, which represents about half of the 12,400 children benefitting from the new payments, says it would have preferred more certainty over how long the payments will be made.

Its chief executive, Geoff Lawson, says their campaign doesn't end here. "We will continue to work to ensure that it doesn't disappear after four years - and it would take a very brave government I would have thought to take it away from us," he said.