Constrained in Kafka’s Castle

While driving home last night we ended up tuning the Sirius to a station that was discussing the financial struggles of grandparents when they are suddenly faced with the prospect of raising their grandkids if their kids cannot for some reason, in the state of Ontario.

We didn’t linger on the channel long enough to grasp all the details, the heavy traffic had rendered our attention spans short, but we lingered long enough to hear that the poor grandparents, retired, often with limited sources of income were getting no more than $220 per month from the state for the care of their grandkids.

The state was more than happy to have the kids out of the foster parenting system and with someone who cared. It was ostensibly a win-win situation all around and saved them tons of money that they would have otherwise paid to a foster parent for benefits, for schooling, for food, for the cost of any educational or recreational activities that the foster parents would have been encouraged to undertake on behalf of their foster kids.

The caring grandparents, probably living on social security benefits themselves, got none of this.

That just describes the essential unfairness of it all but it doesn’t end there. The host of the radio show interviewed a minister responsible for these affairs and she stated, in a very officious French accent, that they encouraged grandparental care and of course wanted to help in every way they could…that if care providers felt they weren’t being given the resources they needed, they only needed to write to her and she would do whatever she could within the constraints imposed by the budgeted resources for this…

The “budgeted” resources! Everyone is always constrained by the “budgeted” resources. Why aren’t budgets ever formulated with a modicum of foresight and reasoning, some compassion, some interest in furthering our interests as members of a civilized society? Once governmental budgets are set does anyone go back and review, set new priorities, eliminate “clutter”? Does anyone ever clean house?

Of course the questions are rhetorical and of course no one does. Everyone, everywhere, be it corporations or governmental agencies, is just a misplaced cog in the wheel, working under nameless, faceless “constraints”.

A caring grandparent was interviewed on the show and she said that she had written several letters to the minister, to the agencies, that letters were unanswered and if they did get answered they were non sequiturs at best. She also said that the ministry was unreachable by emails or phone calls.

I don’t live in that state, I don’t know any grandparents in this position, I only listened to this show for a few minutes but those few minutes were enough to make me feel a sense of outrage at this.

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