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Grandparents caring for children's children need dedicated allowance

21 October, 2004

Following his attendance at a Citywide Family Support Network conference in Dublin today Sinn Féin spokesperson on Family and Community Affairs, Seán Crowe TD reiterated his call for the introduction of a new carers allowance for Grandparents caring for the children of drug addicts. The Citywide conference was organised to draw attention to the growing number of grandparents who find themselves in the position of being full-time carers for their children's children as a result of drug addiction.

Deputy Crowe said, "The reality is because of the escalating drug problem, especially in urban centres, that there is a growing number of grandparents who find themselves in the position of rearing the children of their drug addicted sons and daughters. Unfortunately this group in many instances find themselves in a limbo situation where they are not recognised as the legitimate guardians of the children and therefore cannot access the support services that exist for other carers.

"Surely encouraging the retention of family units should be a priority. Grandparents willing and prepared to offer a caring and loving environment for their grandchildren should be given every support possible. A priority must be to remove the barriers preventing that support. We need to make available dedicated support staff to deal with this growing phenomenon. We also need to ensure that grandparents have access to financial support like that afforded to those receiving fostering allowances.

"I would like to commend the work of the Citywide Family Support Network for the work they have done on this issue. I would urge the new Minister for Social and Family Affairs, Seamus Brennan to work with his colleagues in the Department of Health and Children and the Department of Finance to ensure this issue is urgently addressed in the upcoming budget." ENDS

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