A new study by charity Grandparents Plus has revealed that lack of support from Government and local authorities means that many grandparents face poverty after dropping out of the labour market to raise their grandchildren.
Around 200,000 grandparents, older siblings, aunts, uncles and other relatives (known as kinship carers) in the UK are bringing up 300,000 children whose own parents can no longer fulfil the role due to death, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, illness and imprisonment.
The study, 'Giving Up the Day Job?', shows how almost half of grandparents and other family (kinship) carers who were previously working gave up their jobs to care for children, many of whom have emotional difficulties and would be in local authority care had their relative not stepped in. The carers have to rely on benefits as most do not receive any allowances from their local authority.
Grandparents and kinship carers are calling on the Government and local authorities to provide better support, as well making easier for them to remain in the labour market. They say they have become ‘forgotten families’, with their contribution unrecognised by the state - and they are making their point by taking part in a national month of action.