Grandparents treated ‘shockingly’: Coodanup woman

Anita Battenfeld and Talia (6).
Anita Battenfeld and Talia (6).

Ms Battenfeld has custody of her two grandchildren, but claims she may have to give them up as wards of the State because she cannot afford them.

Her other alternative is selling her home.

Ms Battenfeld received a back injury payout last year and two weeks later her grandchildren, aged six and nine, came to live with her.

‘They had nothing and I’ve had to buy everything to set them up,’ she said.

With two children to support, it did not take long for her payout to run out.

When inquiring about carers or parenting payments, Ms Battenfled was told she was only eligible for a small amount of Family Tax Benefit.

She said finding work is difficult, given she can only work school hours.

‘It is shocking,’ Ms Battenfeld said.

‘At first I thought it was a mistake. I was very angry.

‘I love my grandchildren to bits, but I should not have to go backwards to care for them.’

Ms Battenfeld said many other grandparents were in a similar situation.

‘I have a real bee in my bonnet now,’ Ms Battenfeld said.

‘I have broken down a few times.’

Department of Human Services general manager Hank Jongen said the department would contact Ms Battenfeld to ensure she was receiving the appropriate support and payments she was entitled to.

‘Grandparents caring for their grandchildren can receive specialist advice from the Department’s Grandparent Advisers,’ Mr Jongen said.

‘Grandparent advisers are able to connect grandparents to Centrelink, Child Support and Medicare services as well as State Government and local support services.