Charity calls for targeted supports to stop one-parent families falling into long-term unemployment if schools and childcare services do not fully reopen.

One Family – Ireland’s national organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting, and separating has called on the Government to provide targeted supports for one-parent families in Budget 2021. The call comes as the charity releases its Pre-Budget Submission and as the results of a short survey shows that 31%, or almost a third, of one-parent families have had to apply for a social welfare payment because they have been unable to work due to a lack of childcare during COVID-19; this is two and a half times more than the figure of 12% for two-parent families.

Karen Kiernan CEO of One Family said, “From our work with families and through our helpline, we know that parents are deeply concerned about the future. Parents and children, who were struggling before, are now being pushed further into poverty and onto social welfare. As the economy reopens, we are concerned that gaps in supports still remain and many lone parents will be put at risk of long-term unemployment if schools and childcare services are unable to fully reopen or if parents have to leave work to care for their children, if they are required to self-isolate or are ill due to the virus.”

Ms. Kiernan added, “Over the last four years, there has been twelve reports on one-parent families and poverty published. Each report paints a similar picture of children growing up in the grip of poverty. These families are consistently among the worse off in our society, they are disproportionately represented in the homelessness figures and the living standards of working one-parent families are amongst the worst in Europe.”

We are calling on Government to make work pay for one-parent families with targeted supports such as amending legislation to extend the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme and Pandemic Unemployment Payment to parents unable to return to work due to childcare obligations. One-parent families need a joined-up, inter-departmental approach to support them out of poverty. In our Pre-Budget Submission, we have proposed 23 targeted measures based on the evidence that, if implemented, will support thousands of children out of poverty.”



Notes to the Editor:

One Family Pre-Budget Submission 2021 can be viewed here.

One Family survey ran from 10/09/2020 – 2/09/2020 and had 153 respondents to view summary slides click here.

About One Family:

One Family is Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting and separating, offering support, information and services to all members of all one-parent families, to those sharing parenting, to those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and to professionals working with one-parent families. Children are at the centre of One Family’s work and the organisation helps all the adults in their lives, including mums, dads, grandparents, step-parents, new partners and other siblings, offering a holistic model of specialist family support services.

These services include the lo-call askonefamily national helpline on 1890 662212, counselling, and provision of training courses for parents and for professionals. One Family also promotes Family Day every May, an annual celebration of the diversity of families in Ireland today.

Statistics on one-parent families:

There were 218,817 family units with children (of any age) headed by a lone parent (Census 2016).

  • 1 in 4 families with children in Ireland is a one-parent family (Census 2016).
  • 1 in 5 people in Ireland live in a one-parent family (Census 2016).
  • 356,203 children lived in one-parent families, representing more than one in five or 21.2% of all children in family units (Census 2016).
  • In November 2018, 14,349 One-Parent Family Payment recipients (39 per cent of all recipients) are in employment, and of 14,418 Jobseeker’s Transition recipients, 4,037 recipients work. The Working Family Payment is an important support for working parents; almost half of recipients are households headed by a lone parent.
  • The Survey on Income and Living Conditions 2017 (SILC) revealed that one-parent family households experience the most deprivation in Ireland. Almost 45% of lone parent households experience more than one form of deprivation.
  • 55% of homeless families living in emergency accommodation are one-parent families, at any time.

For further information visit:

Available for Interview

Karen Kiernan, CEO | t: 01 662 9212 or 086 850 9191

Further Information/Scheduling

Noel Sweeney, Communications and Events Manager | t: 01 622 9212 or 085 7241294