14 Sep 2009

Maori grandparent carers face financial burden

11:22 am on 14 September 2009

A former Massey University social work lecturer says Maori grandparents raising mokopuna are struggling to make ends meet.

A study by Jill Worrall of grandparent caregivers found 53% of Maori children in care are with whanau, often grandparents.

That compares with 31% of Pakeha children in care placed with extended family.

Ms Worrall told Waatea News that less than half the Maori grandparents surveyed had total family income over $30,000 and the money they can get from the Unsupported Child Benefit doesn't match benefits available to unrelated foster parents.

"If the children are related to the caregiver they don't get all the extra costs like clothing, medical care, education costs ... that an unrelated caregiver gets," she says.

Jill Worrall says grandparents caring for children may need access to respite care.