Convenient yet neglected: the role of grandparent kinship carers

Zuchowski, Ines, Gair, Susan, Henderson, Debbie, and Thorpe, Ros (2019) Convenient yet neglected: the role of grandparent kinship carers. British Journal of Social Work, 49 (3).

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Grandparents are increasingly involved in the care and protection of grandchildren. The qualitative Australian study reported here explored how contact between grandparents and their grandchildren could be optimised after child safety concerns. Interviews and focus groups with 77 participants were undertaken in 2016. In total, 51 grandparents and aunties in grand parenting roles, 12 parents, 6 foster carers and 8 child protection workers participated in this study. Of the 51 participants in grandparent roles, 20 were kinship carers. This article specifically reports on emerging findings regarding grandparents as kinship carers. Key findings reveal that many grandparents were willing to step into the carer role and many wanted to stay connected to grandchildren, however overall, they received little support. Findings identified the stresses and the fragility of the care arrangements and that at times providing kinship care could endanger carers. Overall, findings point to a perceived notion of kinship care implemented as a cost-effective alternative to foster care that leaves grandparents without the required support and resources. It is recommended here that grandparents receive greater recognition as kinship carers, and that child protection systems increase family-inclusive practices that provide better support and resources to kinship carers.

Implication statement

• Social work practitioners need to work holistically with the extended families to achieve better outcomes for children in child protection

• Grandparents as kinship carers need to be supported and resourced to undertake this complex task

• When grandparents are not able to be kinship carers their involvement in decision making can benefit children in care

Item ID: 55229
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1468-263X
Keywords: child protection; grandparents; grandparents as carers; kinship care
Copyright Information: Copyright © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The British Association of Social Workers. All rights reserved.
Research Data:
Date Deposited: 27 Aug 2018 00:43
FoR Codes: 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4409 Social work > 440999 Social work not elsewhere classified @ 70%
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4409 Social work > 440901 Clinical social work practice @ 30%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920299 Health and Support Services not elsewhere classified @ 40%
92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920399 Indigenous Health not elsewhere classified @ 40%
92 HEALTH > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified @ 20%
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