When nan becomes mum all over again

LOCAL grandparents who  have taken on full-time care of their grandchildren have welcomed a federal inquiry.

The grandparents who spoke to The Leader this week said it really was a labour of love, but assuming a full-time parenting role at a time in their lives when their own children had grown up and retirement beckoned, could be challenging.

Tamworth’s Alison Sullivan and husband Warren have Alison’s two granddaughters – aged eight and  four – living with them after their mother could no longer care for them.

She said they wouldn’t have had it any other way, but it was time all levels of government recognised the increasing number of Australians in their position and offered some much-needed assistance.

It was announced on Monday the federal government would launch an inquiry into the issue, with a report due back by September 2014 with a list of recommendations on support measures.

Mrs Sullivan’s wishlist includes greater financial support, but with both granddaughters having special needs, accessing respite care was vital.

They fail to qualify for government-supported respite so without access to a specialist service, she said it was impossible to find anyone to look after the girls while the couple took some much-needed time out.

“Morally and ethically, they’re your blood so what do you do – they didn’t ask to be created and deserve the best life we can give them – but what we do needs to be recognised,” she said.

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