The province is reviewing how to better support P.E.I. residents who are raising their grandchildren.
“Program options are being developed and will be considered within six months,’’ the Department of Family and Human Services said in a statement to The Guardian.
“The program that’s being developed will support grandparents or other family members, who are raising children under what is called an alternate care giver plan, which is when a child needs out-of-home care for safety reasons, and the parent, in collaboration with child protection services, arranges for the child to be cared for by a family member instead of having the child go into the legal custody and guardianship of the province.’’
The department provided the statement following a recent call for action from Morell-Mermaid MLA Sidney MacEwen.
MacEwen is critical of “ongoing delays’’ on extending policy and financial supports to grandparents as caregivers.
“Caring for a child in need is a complex undertaking and a labour of love,’’ he says.
“The people that provide that care deserve our support, whether it is foster parent families or grandparents acting as caregivers. Doing so as grandparents bring unique legal, financial and health challenges that need to be addressed by government. It is time to start making decisions.’’
MacEwen notes a motion urging government to immediately develop an assistance program for grandparents acting as primary caregivers was unanimously passed by all parties in April.
“We know there are many Island children in need,’’ he says.
“We know that our dedicated foster parent families are stretched to the limit and that in many cases grandparents are also trying to fill the gap. We know that there’s all party support to try and help.’’
Family and Human Services notes any grandparent or family member experiencing struggles raising a child when child protection service is involved should contact the department at 1-800-341-6868.
Child protection service is working with grandparents on a case-by-case basis to offer assistance.