IDENTIFYING ways to support the growing number of grandparents raising grandchildren in Australia and overseas is the aim of a forum in Lismore today.
Southern Cross University's Centre for Children and Young People, and the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, are hosting the forum which will be attended by grandparents, policy-makers, service providers and researchers.
Centre director, Professor Anne Graham, said there had been some research into the issues surrounding grandparents as caregivers, but more needed to be done.
"While grandparents are now starting to be heard, more research needs to be done to identify and understand their diverse experiences in order to design policies and programs that best meet their needs," Professor Graham said.
Professor Graham said research had already shown that grandparents often felt they weren't particularly well-supported and, because care arrangements were often informal, there was not adequate acknowledgement of the contribution they were making.
"There are also issues of loss and grief for many grandparents in regard to their own children," she said.
"Ultimately it's about finding more equitable outcomes for grandparents and the grandchildren in their care."
Professor Graham said the forum was being supported the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia.
"It is really significant for us to have the support of the Academy and is evidence of the importance of the research being undertaken though our Centre for Children and Young People and the Social Policy Research Centre," she said.
"This forum is one of a number of initiatives being undertaken as part of the Collaborative Research Network program funded by the federal government."