Grandparent Carers Research

Are you a grandparent who has full-time care of your grandchildren?

If so, we would love to hear your opinion in our new survey. You will have a chance to win one of five $200 Coles Myer gift cards to thank you for your participation.

The Lotterywest funded research, led by Wanslea and conducted by Edith Cowan University and Curtin University, includes surveys of grandparent carers, in-depth interviews and focus groups, policy review, and analysis and evaluation of leadership camps for grandchildren.

A major part of the research is being launched this month. Researchers at ECU have developed a comprehensive survey to be completed by grandparents who qualify as full-time carers of their grandchildren. The survey aims to provide an understanding of the impact of the caring role on grandparents, and identify their support needs. It will mean services and policies can be developed and shaped to respond to those needs.

By completing the surveys grandparent carers will assist the researchers to:

  • develop an understanding of the daily lived experiences of grandparent carers
  • assess the implications of these experiences on their health, economic and social wellbeing
  • determine which service providers are effective in their service delivery
  • determine if grandparent carers are receiving adequate support
  • assess the shared and different experiences of private and public grandparent carers

The survey is available online at It will take about 40 – 60 minutes to complete.

In addition, there are alternative methods of data collection including paper surveys and storyboards to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander grandparent carers to participate in the project.  For grandparents who would prefer these contact Liz Wenden, Senior Research Officer, ECU on (08) 6304 2227 or via email or contact Denise Gray, Project Officer, Wanslea on (08) 9245 2441.

In 2016 Wanslea was awarded a $1 million Lotterywest research grant designed to deliver more effective support to the rapidly growing number of grandparents who have full-time care of their grandchildren.

The research is being conducted by researchers from Curtin University (Curtin), Edith Cowan University (ECU), and the University of WA (UWA) under the guidance of Wanslea’s Grandparent Carer Research Advisory Group.

Curtin University will oversee the service and policy mapping and ECU will lead the research related to the experiences and implications for grandparent carers.

Denise Gray was employed in February 2017 as the project officer. Her responsibilities relate to the organisational and operational aspects of the research project. Over the last 12 months Denise has been instrumental in preparing and finalising engagement with the University partners and coordinating the Grandparent Carer Research Advisory Group which was established in 2013.

This group will provide guidance, direction, expertise and strategic communication to and for the project.

We also have a newly formed Working Group which met for the first time in November 2017. They work specifically on the Grandcare project whereas the Advisory Group help to develop any research which concerns grandparent carers.

The research team is comprised of Professor Ruth Marquis (ECU), Dr David Coall (ECU), Liz Wenden (ECU), Dr Barbara Blundell (Curtin), Dr Tina Fernandez (Curtin),Dr Mark Liddiard (Curtin) and Jess Gilbert (Curtin).

Dr Katrina Stratton and Denise Gray form the research and evaluation team at Wanslea.

The Research Team

  Dr Katrina Stratton

  Dr Stratton PhD is the Coordinator for Research and Evaluation at Wanslea Family Services.
  She is responsible for developing and implementing a research strategy and building research
  culture across the organisation.


  Dr Barbara Blundell (Principal Investigator)

  Dr Blundell BSW (hons) PhD is Lecturer and Teaching and Research Academic
  in the School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work at Curtin University.


  Dr. Tina Fernandes (Co-investigator)

  Dr Fernandes PhD is Lecturer and Course Coordinator, Bachelor of Social Work
  at Curtin University with the School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work.



  Dr Mark Liddiard (Co-investigator)

  Dr Liddiard PhD is a Senior Lecturer in Social Policy in the School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work
  at Curtin University and has an extensive background in social policy and research methods.



  Professor Ruth Marquis

  Ruth is a Professor of Occupational Therapy
  within the School of Medical and Health Sciences.



  Dr David Coall (Lead Investigator)

  Dr Coall is a Senior Lecturer, Researcher and the Human Biology Course
  Coordinator in Biomedical Science within the School of Medical and Health Sciences.



Project Updates (November 2017)

• Research contracts signed between Wanslea, Curtin and ECU

• Presented a conference paper (Wanslea, Curtin and ECU) at the Family and Relationship Services Australia (FRSA) conference in Melbourne in November 2017

• The designing and planning of children’s camps with interested parties has commenced

• ECU and Curtin have received executive ethics approval to begin their research

• Design and development of the ECU survey is underway

• Work has commenced (in conjunction with Kurongkurl Katitjin, ECU) on the multi-generational family matrix for grandcarers

• Curtin has commenced a literature review and mapping exercise which aims to draw together previous research about support and services for grandparent carers, along with related government and organisational documents.

If you would like to be kept up to date via email or are interested in being a grandparent carer in our survey, then please email us at