This national priority is exploring options for improving financial and non-financial support to grandparent, kinship and foster carers. In addition, under the Communities for Children program, grandparent and other carers are a specified target group for a range of services including Supported Playgroups
Under this priority the Department commissioned the Social Policy Research Centre to undertake a research project to explore the payments and services available to carers in order to analyse gaps and inequities in support. The research report was finalised in November 2010, and was publicly released by all state and territoriy Ministers in December 2010.
The outcomes of this research project will assist all jurisdictions to improve planning and delivery of supports for carers, and will inform future actions under the Improving Support for Carers priority.
As a first step, the Commonwealth Government is developing an online information resource for carers to ensure they have better access to information and services. The resource will contain links to payments, services and supports available to foster, kinship, grandparent and informal carers across Australia. There will also be Indigenous specific information available under each subcategory, and support for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
The Commonwealth Government has also recently committed to establishing 25 MyTime for Grandparents peer support groups. These groups will offer a supportive environment for grandparents to meet and share ideas with other grandparents who are caring for their grandchildren. In addition, the Commonwealth Government has provided four new Centrelink Grandparent Advisors – one each in Melbourne and Brisbane, and two in Sydney – to complement the existing Grandparent Advisor in Perth. These Grandparent Advisors assist grandparents to access the government payments they are entitled, and provide information about to other relevant support and services available to them.