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Grandparents: Parental Responsibility

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 15 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assistance his Department provides to grandparents who act in loco parentis for their grandchildren; and if he will make a statement. (247047)

Grandparents who care for their grandchildren are entitled to the same help from services as any other relative.

Education legislation makes no distinction between parents and other carers with whom the child is living with regard to service entitlement. Grandparents are also entitled to the same family support services as any parent. Family support services may be provided by a local authority under section 17 of the Children Act 1989 to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in need in their area, including promoting the upbringing of such children by their families. These services may include financial help if that is the most appropriate way to meet the child's needs. If grandparents or any other relative are caring for a child who is looked after by the local authority, they will be approved as local authority foster carers and entitled to the same financial allowances and support services as any other foster carer.

We are also seeking to improve services and supports to relative carers through a number of measures as set out in the “Care Matters” White Paper. The Children and Young Persons Act, which received royal assent in November 2008 makes it easier for relative carers to obtain an order giving them parental responsibility for the child and to receive financial support on a longer term basis where this is seen to be the most appropriate way to safeguard and promote the child's welfare.