P.E.I. minister argues grandparents raising children need help
200 children on P.E.I. are being raised by their grandparents
A standing committee on health and wellness began hearing from presenters Tuesday on a motion made by Family and Human Services Minister Tina Mundy to offer more support to grandparents raising their grandchildren.
Mundy made a presentation before the committee telling them why she feels grandparents acting as the primary caregivers to their grandchildren need more help from the province.
Census information shows 200 grandchildren on P.E.I. are being raised by their grandparents and the reasons vary Mundy told Compass host Bruce Rainnie.
"Some of it has to do with incarceration, drug abuse, death, there's child abuse issues there as well so there's a wide variety of issues," said Mundy, adding she herself was raised by her grandmother for periods in her childhood.
"My father was in the military and he was a single dad raising two little girls, six and two, and for periods of time he did have to go away. So we lived with my grandmother for sometimes up to a year at a time," said Mundy.
Two hour meeting
Before becoming a minister in the Liberal government, Mundy said she had been approached by a group of grandparents in Summerside with their concerns.
"They wanted me to come out and have a chat with them about some of the issues that they were facing being the primary caregivers to their children's children."
Mundy says a one hour meeting turned into two hours. "You could tell the meeting was all about love, love and the financial burdens the grandparents were facing."
From those concerns, Mundy brought forward the motion that was unanimously accepted by the Legislative Assembly.
From there, it was sent to the standing committee on health and wellness so they could look at programs that are offered or could be offered.
"And maybe plug some of the holes that were in the system today."
Mundy said while she heard many stories from grandparents, one in particular touched her.
"There was one grandmother, she was 65 herself and she suffered from many health issues both physical and mental and she's raising three little girls that also have been clinically diagnosed with learning disabilities themselves."
The woman was raising the three children on her own on social assistance, Mundy said.
"She's finding it very, very difficult both financially and just the social isolation that she's facing as well. There's no reprieve, its 24-7 job."
Mundy said there is a need for financial assistance as well as respite for grandparents.
The minister said the standing committee will continue to meet and bring forward recommendations on the motion after the public consultations have been completed.