Comic Relief has been funding Grandparents Plus to campaign on behalf of older family and friends carers – especially those who are over 65.
As part of this project we produced Too Old to Care? a 50-page report detailing the experiences of older grandparents raising their grandchildren. It is based on in depth interviews and a focus group with 18 grandparent carers aged over 65. The report highlights the challenges older carers face, including isolation, discrimination and poverty.
The report was launched at the Too old to care? Kinship Care Conference on 29 June 2011 which was attended by the Children’s Minister Tim Loughton and brought together social workers, kinship carers and policy makers from across England and Wales to explore the challenges faced by older carers and how they can be given more and better support. Click here to find out more and view the conference report.
At the conference we launched the Keep Families Together campaign, calling for more support for grandparents and other family and friends caring for children who cannot be raised by their parents. Also launched were three campaign videos:
- “Who would you choose for me?” is an interactive video that tells the story of a girl who cannot live with her parents due to neglect and alcohol abuse. A social worker must make a decision about whether she can stay with her grandparents or should be put up for adoption. The viewer can decide where she should be placed and finds out how her life will turn out.
- Real Stories: Brian and Kathleen, a short documentary telling the story of their legal battle to be able to bring up their three grandchildren.
- Real Stories: Tony and Christine, a short documentary about the joys and challenges that they have had in bringing up Christine’s granddaughter, Holly.
The campaign also calls on local authorities to fully comply with the Statutory Guidance on Family and Friends Care which was introduced in April 2011. It gives responsibilities to local authorities to put in place comprehensive policies to support family and friend carers and ensure that support for these families is based on the needs of the child and not just their legal status. These policies should be in place by 30 September 2011. We are distributing our 10 questions to ask your local authority: a lobbying tool to encourage local authorities to meet their responsibilities towards family and friends carers.
To get involved with this project or support the campaign please click here to email Peter Hulme our Campaigns Officer, alternatively you can call him on 020 8981 8001.