Celebrating and thanking our carers

National Carers Week provides the opportunity for Baptcare and other organisations to recognise the outstanding role that carers play in the community. Each year carers save the Government $60.3 billion through their caring role.

Of the 43,399 children in out of home care in Australia, 20,528 are living in formal kinship care. Kinship care refers to care provided by relatives or members of the child’s social network when a child is unable to live at home with their parents and is the preferred placement option within the child protection system. The demands on carers are diverse, extending from the care of the child, to negotiation with parents, support services and the legal system.

Informal kinship carers receive very little or no support financially and a number of grandparents have had to dip into their retirement savings, while others have had to sell their homes.

Baptcare has highlighted the work of carers in its report into family violence in kinship care, including evidence that 82% of carers experienced psychological, emotional or verbal abuse caused by a family member of the child. Consistently carers identify threats and intimidation resulting in the loss of social connection.

One carer explained, “I was treated like I was so lacking in value. I was very tired of hearing the phrase, “you’re only the grandmother””.

Carers Week gives Baptcare and the wider community the opportunity to acknowledge carers as more than, ‘only the grandmother.’ While carers are lamenting the lack of respect and recognition, Baptcare recognises that, “respect, encouragement and validation are no-cost resources that could make a huge difference in the life of a kinship carer with flow on benefits for the children in their care.”

[1] ‘ It’s been an absolute nightmare’ Family violence in kinship care. August 2017.