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GRANDPARENTS IN FIGHT FOR RIGHTS; Kinship group lobbies for changes in law.

Byline: By MICHELLE FIDDLER Chief Reporter

A GROUP of grandparents are campaigning for equal rights for looking after children who cannot be cared for by their parents.

PADA (Liverpool) Kinship Carers, who are based in Norris Green but work across the city, is predominantly made up of grandparents, as well as aunties and uncles, who look after children unable to live with their birth parents due to either death, drug or alcohol misuse, or a chaotic lifestyle.

More than 40 Kinship carers have joined together to form an activist lobby group to raise awareness and lobby the government to bring about positive legislative change to provide support to kinship families.

Birkenhead MP Frank Field is to put questions on their behalf to the Prime Minister about the extent of the problem and what is being done about it.

He will also be raising an Early Day Motion calling for investigation into the growing trend of grandparents and other kinship carers raising children and calling for legislative support to enable those families to provide the best possible care that they can.

PADA development worker Pauline Thornley said: "Kinship carers are not being recognised and supported in their caring role.

"For example, a registered foster carer will be in receipt of training, support and a salary for caring for children. Kinship carers, however, do not receive support, training, counselling and only a minority are in receipt of special allowances."

Mr Field said: "I will be asking the Prime Minister what moves he has made to establish the number of grandparents who are also parents to children and what moves he has made to support these families. I will be following this up with an Early Day Motion so that grandparents can get their own MPs to sign it. This is a growing issue. A lot of grandparents feel dumped on. Most of them get very little support for their efforts in keeping the children out of care."

The group's next meeting is from 10am-12pm on Friday, May 11, at Eller-green Community Centre, Norris Green. A further meeting is on Friday June 8, from 10am to 12 noon.

Information:Contact PADA/Kinship Carers Liverpool on 0151-270 2108.

michellefiddler@liverpoolecho.co.uk

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CAMPAIGN: Kinship carer Jan Patterson is among a group of grandparents campaigning for equal rights Picture: TRACEY O'NEILL/to240407kinship
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 3, 2007
Words:389
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