THE RIVERINA Country Women’s Association will lead the charge in pressuring the state government to change foster care laws for grandparents.
It comes after Anglicare and Wanggaay Koori Out Of Care Service last month revealed rising drug addiction was creating a dire shortage of foster carers for vulnerable Wagga children.
More than 100 CWA members from across Australia were in Wagga last week to attend the annual group conference.
State voting delegates backed all three of the Riverina branch’s motions, including a move to see grandparents redefined as closer family members.
Riverina president Ann Adams said there was a need to ease stress on grandparents, who are currently forced to go through the foster carer process, she said.
“If they want to raise them, they have to go through the hoops like foster carers, [being asked] do they have a criminal background, are they medically fit,” Mrs Adams said. “We do have several of our members that are raising grandchildren now, they are finding it very hard being treated as foster carers and not grandparents in their own right.”
Mrs Adams said the problem went far beyond the Riverina, with figures showing more grandparents were stepping in for their kids nationally.
“There are now thousands of grandparents looking after their grandchildren as parents,” she said.
“The statistics are frightening, and to think that this is happening mostly because of ice addiction and domestic violence.”
A second motion to lobby the government over changes to Australia Post was also approved by the state CWA body.
“There are now thousands of grandparents looking after their grandchildren as parents. The statistics are frightening, and to think that this is happening mostly because of ice addiction and domestic violence.”
Riverina CWA publicity officer Julie Morrison said inconsistent delivery times in Wagga were “just terrible”.
“I posted something on Wednesday to Estella, it didn’t get there until the next Tuesday,” she said.