On Monday 9 December, the Senate referred the following matter to the Community Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report.
The Terms of Reference are:
Grandparents who take on the primary responsibility for raising their grandchildren when parents are unable or unwilling to do so, through a formal or informal care arrangement, including:
- the practical challenges facing grandparents raising their grandchildren, and their support needs;
- the role and contribution of grandparents raising their grandchildren, and how this should be recognised;
- other challenges that grandparents raising their grandchildren face in undertaking their role, including in circumstances complicated by family conflict, mental illness, substance abuse, homelessness, child abuse or neglect, or family violence;
- the barriers that grandparents raising their grandchildren face in acquiring legal recognition of their family arrangements, including Legal Aid entitlements for grandparents seeking to formalise their custodial arrangements through the Family Law Courts;
- the practical measures that can be implemented by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments and the community sector to better support grandparents raising their grandchildren, including key priorities for action;
- the specific needs of particular groups within the caring population, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander grandparent carers, grandparents caring for grandchildren with disability, grandparents from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, grandparents with mental health needs and grandparents with an informal care arrangement for their grandchildren; and
- other related matters.
Submissions were sought by 14 March 2014. The reporting date is 30 September 2014. On 30 September 2014, the Senate granted an extension of time for reporting until 29 October 2014.