A Trust supporting Grandparents raising their grandchildren has called for earlier implementation of an Amendment Bill that would see clothing allowances of around $1000 and $1685 per year provided for unsupported children and orphans.
The Social Security Act (Clothing Allowances for Orphans and Unsupported Children) Amendment Bill which was sponsored by New Zealand First MP and Deputy Leader Tracey Martin was passed last week in Parliament.
While the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Trust sees this as a huge positive, the concern is that this new initiative will not come into effect until 2018.
According to the Executive Trustee, Diane Vivian, “We are thrilled that Parliament has supported it and we really appreciate Tracey Martin’s work sponsoring this change to the law. But still the children wait! 2018 for heaven’s sake! For some this change to the law will come too late.”
Ms Vivian says, Foster carers already receive this level of financial support for clothing plus extra allowances to cover health and education costs, including doctor’s visits, prescription costs, dental work, school costs like compulsory fees, camps and stationery and other necessary costs.
The Trust believes this initiative “is an important milestone in the fight for the recognition of grandparents and whānau caregivers who are doing the same job as foster carers.”
The Trust believes holding off on the implementation of the initiative will be three years too late and is urging the Government to introduce a universal Carer’s Benefit for all caregivers raising vulnerable unsupported children.