Help for grand carers: Grandcare Mirrabooka

Wanslea Grandcare co-ordinator Susan Baile.  Picture: David Baylis   d444704
Wanslea Grandcare co-ordinator Susan Baile. Picture: David Baylis d444704

A WESTMINSTER couple did not expect to become parents for a second time when called upon to help raise their four grandchildren.

The grandparents, who did not wish to be named, said they had been through a “rough journey” raising their daughter’s children after her long-term battle with substance abuse.

“It’s hard for us; we thought we’d be sitting back, just the two of us,” the grandfather said.

“It’s like starting all over again as parents.

“Sometimes my partner says she can’t do it anymore but we just keep going for the kids – my life is now dedicated to them.”

The couple said they had “been through hell” battling with their daughter’s drug problem while trying to protect her children.

“Sometimes she talks like she wants to support her kids again, but then next minute you hear she’s had a shot somewhere,” she said.

“For years we were just trying to support her and tell her to get off the drugs and took the kids when she wanted to party, but it gradually got worse and worse.

“One night she dumped one of them in a bassinet at the front door step and took off, that’s how bad it was.”

The couple now raise four children ranging from age four to 13 and receive support from Grandcare, a Wanslea Foster Care initiative that provides support to grandparents raising grandchildren.

Grandcare co-ordinator Susan Baile said the program had been supporting grandparents carers for 13 years.

“We currently have more than 650 grandparents and 850 grandchildren in our program,” Ms Baile said.

“Most grand carers would much rather be retired and caravanning around Australia, but in order to provide their grandchildren with a safe, loving and stable home, they choose to take on the full-time responsibility of raising their grandchildren.

“Many of our grand carers are on an age pension and find it very difficult to manage financially.

“Re-parenting in their senior years presents some serious physical challenges as well as a need to re-engage with schools and the 21st century world of technology.”

The Westminster grandparents said their Grandcare group in Mirrabooka provided a strong support.

“You get to know other grandparents in your area who are doing the same thing,” the grandmother said.

Grandcare co-ordinator Ms Baile was a 2015 WA Seniors Award finalist for her efforts with the program.

For more details about the program call 1800 008 323.

See opinion, page 8