Grandparents raising their grandchildren experience diverse challenges and are often hidden from government and services statistics. The 2014 Senate Inquiry into grandcarers called for research to quantify these challenges. In response, a pioneering study was conducted in partnership between Edith Cowan University and Community Vision Inc. With guidance from our critical reference group, in-depth interviews and detailed surveys were completed and identified the service needs and experiences of grandcarers in Western Australia. Future care of their grandchildren, and financial, legal and behavioural issues were seen as the highest priority for grandcarers. The majority (76%) of grandcarers surveyed identifying respite as high priority issue. This was something we could act upon quickly. In collaboration with our stakeholders and Community Vision Inc., a novel pilot respite program was developed: Take a Break Camp for Grandkids. Both grandparents and grandchildren felt the respite camp gave them time to engage in activities and socialise with peers, ‘normalising’ a week in their challenging lives. The next exciting step in this research program is to hear the ‘voices of grandchildren’ raised by their grandparents identifying their experiences, mental and physical health and service needs. This has been funded in partnership with a new industry collaborator Wanslea.
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