Grandparents battle to be key stakeholders in protecting grandchildren

Gair, Susan, Zuchowski, Ines, Henderson, Debbie, Thorpe, Ros, and Munns, Lyn (2019) Grandparents battle to be key stakeholders in protecting grandchildren. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 31 (1). pp. 101-113.

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Introduction: Grandparents are increasingly involved in the care of grandchildren, including after child protection intervention.

Method: A recent Australian qualitative research partnership explored how relationships between grandparents and their grandchildren could be optimised after child safety concerns. Interviews and focus groups were undertaken with 77 participants, including 51 grandparents, 12 parents, six foster carers and eight child and family workers. Emerging themes reported here focus on the role of grandparents and their perceptions of, and interactions with, the child protection system.

Findings: Overall, findings identify that grandparents wanted to help safeguard their grandchildren but many encountered an adversarial child protection system that left them feeling powerless, fearful and unimportant. Aboriginal participants reiterated that child protection workers needed to better understand how maintaining kinship networks provided a protective factor for Aboriginal children, and that grandparents were key stakeholders in their grandchildren’s lives.

Implications: The findings from this study affirm the value and role of grandparents and highlight the need for implemented family-inclusive child protection practice within and beyond the Australian context.

Item ID: 58222
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2463-4131
Keywords: grandparents; grandchildren; family-inclusive child protection practice
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Copyright Information: © ANZASW 2019. Authors of the article retain the right to be identified as authors of the work. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Funders: James Cook University (JCU)
Research Data:
Date Deposited: 07 May 2019 22:56
FoR Codes: 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4409 Social work > 440901 Clinical social work practice @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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