Make Paid Parental Leave eligible for Foster and Kinship Parents
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Current Paid Parental Leave (PPL) Legislation excludes Foster and Kinship parents from being eligible to receive this payment. When all restoration options to birth parents have been exhausted and is no longer possible, an infant remains in formal State or Territory care under an order. Foster and Kinship parents should be able to apply for the same income support just like any other primary carer who meets all the eligibility criteria for PPL.
This is important for Kinship parents as they may have an obligation to the family to take responsibility for the children. Financially this may be a difficult decision, should time off work be necessary. A key reason to have PPL option for Foster and Kinship parents is to ensure the children can adequately develop attachment and bond with their primary carer and reduce the effects of trauma related to any abuse or neglect suffered by the children, as well as separation from the birth family.
For this to happen, their parent must be at home with the children. Eligibility requirements:
• You are the primary carer of the child.• The child is within the first 52 weeks of life.• Meet the residency requirements.• Meet the work test.• Earn less than $150,000 in the financial year. Despite the above, in the supporting legislation PPL Rules Part 2.4 Division 2.4.1 Rule 2.29 (2) b. preclude parents from receiving PPL.
Supporting Foster and Kinship parents to receive the PPL will in turn support our most vulnerable children in the community. These children can not live with their biological parents/families a number of reasons and need to be placed in the child protection system. The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) in 2012-2013 - 40,549 Australian children, of all ages, are living in a child protection placement. Access to PPL for Foster and Kinship parents and the financial support that it provides would make Foster care a more viable option for working individuals who are considering such a path. Research shows, it will make invaluable difference for Foster and Kinship parents to be able to take as much time off work as a primary carer and establish bonds and attachments so crucial to these children.
I started this petition because I am a Foster parent. Our son is now 3 years 10 months old. He came to live with me and my husband when he was 8 days old. We are delighted, as the court has decided he will remain in our care until he is 18 years old, and we have a view to adopt him. PPL was not available to me and my employer would not support any paid leave. PPL was not a consideration for us when making the decision to become Foster parents. My interest is in closing this gap in any future PPL legislation so that more support can be provided to Foster and Kinship parents.
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