Grandparents ROCK at Gore Park

By Ryan McGreal
Published October 28, 2008

If you caught Tom Cooper's column in today's Spectator, you'll already know about Raising Our Children's Kids (ROCK), a support and advocacy group of grandparents who are raising their grandchildren because their children are unwilling or unable.

Right now (10:15 AM), volunteers from ROCK are holding a rally in Gore Park at King and Hughson to solicit petitions on a recent change announced by the Ontario Government to deny grandparents financial assistance under the Ontario Works Temporary Care Assistance program if their living arrangement shows signs of permanence.

Madeline Meilleur, Community and Social Services Minister, said recently that such grandparents can apply for welfare if they need social assistance.

ROCK argue that many grandparents who find themselves looking after their grandchildren own houses and would not qualify for welfare, yet cannot afford to take on the additional costs of raising children on a fixed income. The Temporary Care Assistance program is a much better fit, providing $231 per month for the first child and $188 per month for each additional child.

They also point out that foster parents receive $900 per month for each child in their care, while grandparents acting as de facto foster parents receive nothing, even though they are providing a more stable environment for children in need.

If you're downtown, be sure to stop by the ROCK rally and sign the petition to show your support.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.

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By Grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted October 28, 2008 at 19:25:28

I was there in spirit, as I could not attend the rally. I hope the turnout was good. These people need the support of the people in the community.

How flippant of our Social Services Minister, "Well they can apply for welfare". Really, if the grandparents are on pension, how are they accessing Ontario Works. The Minister knows this, so to me, it shows her blatant disregard for the people, these grand parents that struggle.

Yes, the system will give money to strangers to raise kids, but not to the grandparents, go figure. Many foster kids do not live in good environments and this is at the behest of Children Services. Social engineering at its best.

For the tide to turn, the people need to get involved, to stand with these people, in their fight against a very oppressive system, that rewards itself while making the people suffer.

Workers, those on disablity, those that are retired and on pensions, those who are unemployed, any and all the struggle need to be one loud voice.

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