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Media Releases

Wednesday, 3 August 2005

'Relative Parents' Support Group

It is an unfortunate reality that many children lose their parents to drugs, mental illness, serious injury or death. When parents can no longer care for their children, the child-rearing role often falls to other family members such as grandparents, aunties or uncles. This can be stressful and lonely position in which to find yourself in. “Relative Parents” is a support group for these extended family members who are full time parents.

The group was established three years ago at the Randwick Hospital campus to assist relatives in this often challenging role. The group provides these carers with the opportunity to gain support from people in the same situation. Through group counselling, information sharing and debriefing, and supervised by a social worker, ‘Relative Parents’ are empowered to meet the daily challenges of this unique role.

The group also assists ‘relative parents’ to manage some of the issues that the children face, such as grief, loss and separation issues, anger or depression, as well as general behaviour issues. Despite the challenges there are definite gains. “Your life is not your own anymore, however I am enjoying going to concerts and going to watch all the things a normal 11 year old does. Raising a child again keeps me younger,” said group member Margaret Hooper.

Group members acknowledge the many benefits they receive from the group. Top of the list is companionship for what can be a very isolating role, “The friendly environment of the group is most important,” added Hooper. Also, the group provides a supportive, confidential place to express any frustrations or feelings of distress, as well as lots of useful tips about childcare.

If you are a ‘relative parent’ and would like a little extra support, please don’t hesitate to call Christina on 9344 9387 or Margaret on 9349 3727. Both women have been part of the group since it started and are more than happy to talk to anyone who may be interested in joining.

Group Meetings

Where: Child and Family East, Avoca St Randwick

When: Fortnightly on Tuesdays

Time: 10am – 12 noon

For Further Information Contact:

Iain Robinson, Public Affairs Department on (02) 9382 3578 or 0404 001 722.

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