When children are removed from their parents’ care due to safety concerns, they are overwhelmingly likely to end up with their grandparents.
Of the 35,800 children on finalised guardianship or custody orders as of 30 June 2018, half are placed with family, with grandparents being the most common family members to take on care duties.
Older people – especially those who aren’t expecting to look after children – can find themselves vulnerable when grandchildren enter their care.
Ageing and retirement present legal challenges for everyone – increased need for medical care, superannuation, wills and power of attorney can all create difficulties.
Caring for grandchildren adds a host of additional issues for people to deal with.
Extra expenses for food, clothing, heath care and child care can create significant financial hardship for retirees on fixed incomes.
Grandparents in the workforce may need to reduce their hours or quit working in order to meet care obligations, damaging retirement savings.
Custody battles and interactions with state welfare agencies can be time-consuming, expensive and distressing. Family tensions can be stretched to breaking point, leaving people in vulnerable situations feeling like they’ve lost their support networks.
Goulburn Valley Libraries and Victoria Legal Aid are partnering this Law Week to help Northern Victorian grandparents diagnose their legal issues and find appropriate assistance.
At Grandparents and your Rights as Carers, a community lawyer will guide grandparents through the various pieces of law and policy that they need to understand if their grandchildren enter their care.
Come along to Shepparton Library and shed light on your legal rights and responsibilities under both family law and child protection law.