In April 2001, Grandparents Victoria (GPV) was formed with the belief that the life experiences of grandparents mean that they can play a valuable role in supporting their families and the wider community.
At this early stage, with only four core members at the first meeting, it was not certain what the group would do or how its activities were to be funded, but the idea was welcomed.
For the first two years, GPV focused on consultation with grandparents. A number of informal gatherings were held in an attempt to learn what challenges grandparents and their families were facing in the 21st century. A series of more formal forums were also held across the state to get grandparents talking about what they saw as the most pressing issues. Subsequent more regularly held forums have refined these foundational understandings.
In March 2002, the issues faced by grandparents raising their grandchildren were noted, with the GPV Board deciding that the role of grandparents within child protection would be a priority area of work.
Another landmark was reached in 2004 when GPV staff attended the inaugural meeting of the Shepparton Kinship Care Support Group. This was the first of many visits to support groups across the state and heralded a commitment to local peer support for kinship carers.
The first statewide kinship care conference was held in the Moonee Valley Town Hall in 2009. The conference brought kinship carers, bureaucrats and community sector representatives together. The kinship carers proved their skill at raising issues and from this occasion the work of advocacy flourished.
In 2010 the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) awarded GPV the contract to establish Kinship Carers Victoria (KCV) as a network formed to connect carers across Victoria, and to act as the peak group representing the views of kinship carers. Thus, GPV/KCV emerged as a statewide agency for addressing a range of issues from the viewpoint of grandparents.