We need your help…particularly Dads parenting alone or sharing parenting!

We need help…particularly from Dads parenting alone or sharing parenting. We represent and support all one-parent families. To help us be the best we can, we are asking you to take part in a quick, completely anonymous survey. It will take no more than 8-10 minutes to complete and will help us serve the needs of all one-parent families into the future. Thank you to everyone who has already completed the survey and if you know of anyone parenting alone or sharing parenting who might be interested in completely it please share. Thanks from all at One Family

Please click on the link below to complete the survey :

Fond farewell to the Chair of our Board Dr Anne-Marie McGauran

On Wednesday 24 October we bid a fond farewell to the Chair of our Board Dr Anne-Marie McGauran. Anne-Marie has been a Board member since 2001 and played a pivotal role in the success of One Family over that period. She is unique amongst our ‘Boardies’ as she held the roles of Company Secretary, Treasurer and for the past year, Chair.  A passionate advocate of one-parent families, Anne- Marie used her social policy expertise to oversee One Family and our clients through some of the darkest periods in our history including the financial crisis and the savage 2012 budget cuts.
We are particularly grateful for Anne-Marie’s diligence, leadership and expertise on the Governance Code as she steered us to full compliance at a very early stage. We wish Anne-Marie well, thank her and her family for all the time she spent with us and we hugely appreciate her leadership, expertise, commitment and compassion to the organisation and the families we support and represent. We look forward to welcoming our new Chair, Sinéad Gibney who will lead the development of our next 3 year strategy. Sinéad is a former service user of One Family, inaugural Director of the Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission and a consultant trainer.

Press Release | Budget 2019: Positive step in the right direction but much more needs to be done on child maintenance and access to education.

One Family, Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting, and separating welcome the additional QCI increase of €5.20 for children over 12 which acknowledges the higher costs faced by lone parents with older children, many of whom were disproportionately impacted by the One-Parent Family Payment reforms. The next steps require significant and prolonged investment in key public services such as health, housing, education and childcare and a whole of government approach must be in place to achieve this.

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO, said:“We broadly welcome Budget 2019 which includes many targeted steps that will impact positively on children living in poverty. The child maintenance disregard for the Working Family Payment (WFP) is a particularly positive step towards the recognition of child maintenance as a separate and independent income for children. We encourage Government to apply these disregards to all state supports and payments to make sure children living in the poorest families can directly benefit. Government must also take the burden of seeking child maintenance away from the parent with care responsibilities and establish a standardised, State supported process for child maintenance.”

Ms Kiernan added, “The Budget also provided limited measures to support lone parents back to education with anomalies between Back to Education Allowance, housing supports and the SUSI maintenance grant remaining in place. This is a consistent and significant barrier to lone parents returning to education and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. Budget 2019 was a positive step in the right direction in reducing the disproportionate child poverty rates impacting on children in one-parent families but much more needs to be done on child maintenance, investment in key services and access to education.’

One Family’s Pre-Budget Submission 2019 included recommendations designed to support lone parents into education and/or employment, while acknowledging their parenting responsibilities. It can be read here.

Press release | Budget 2019 is last opportunity for Government to deliver on 2020 child poverty commitments

One week out from Budget 2019 leading national charities call on Government to ensure child poverty target will be decisively acted on.

(Dublin 2 Oct 2018) Today in Dublin a group of leading national charities has said that time is running out for the Government to deliver on its 2020 child poverty commitments. Barnardos, the Children’s Rights Alliance, Early Childhood Ireland, One Family and St Vincent de Paul have come together to remind Government about commitments made in the national strategy for children and young people: Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures to lift 100,000 children out of poverty by 2020 and to offer advice on key actions that must be taken now.

Karen Kiernan, CEO of One Family said, “It is crucial that Government targets supports to Ireland’s poorest children who are primarily living in one-parent families. The way to combat this is with targeted supports such as the full restoration of the income disregard for lone parents in receipt of social welfare payments to what they were before cuts in Budget 2012 and to target the poorest children by increasing the portion of a social welfare payment for children again in this budget.”

June Tinsley, Barnardos Head of Advocacy said “Education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty and enabling children to reach their potential. Budget 2019 must see significant investment in our education system so all children can fully participate, without schools being forced to ask parents for funds and parents aren’t continuously overburdened by school costs which disproportionately affect children from low income families”.

Caroline Fahey, SVP Head of Social Justice said, “Almost 4,000 children in Ireland are homeless, with many others living in insecure, poor quality and overcrowded accommodation due to the high cost of rents and the shortage of social housing.  Increasing the supply of housing provided by local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies would offer families the security of an affordable long-term home, protecting children from the risk of homelessness and allowing families to plan for the future.”

Teresa Heeney, CEO of Early Childhood Ireland “Access to quality early childhood education and care is tremendously beneficial for all children, yet some very vulnerable children are at risk of missing out on this opportunity due to proposed rules. It is imperative that these children are not left behind in Budget 2019. We call on Government to put in place a mechanism to identify these vulnerable children, and to allocate robust funding for targeted subsidies to safeguard both their rights and those of their families.”

Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance said: We know that children are going to bed hungry and that 25% of children under eight years old are overweight or obese.  This is a public health crisis. We need to see leadership from the highest levels of Government to ensure that nutritious meals are made available and easily accessible for children living in poverty particularly those suffering with chronic health issues and struggling to concentrate in school.”

She continued, “Healthcare can be hugely expensive for families living on low incomes. The income thresholds for the Medical Card have not been revised since 2005, leaving many children and families unable to access healthcare. With access to free GP cards now a long term objective for the Government, it is crucial that we consider other measures to provide adequate healthcare to the families.”

One Family Pre-Budget Submission calls for evidence based targeted supports rather than blanket increase in social welfare

Minister Doherty must resist attempts to give blanket social welfare increases and instead use research to focus increases on the most vulnerable groups

[Dublin 20 July] One Family, Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting and separating has today said Budget 2019 must focus on evidence based targeted supports rather than blanket increases to social welfare. The charity’s comments came at the launch of its Pre-Budget Submission ahead of the Pre-Budget Forum in Dublin Castle.

Karen Kiernan One Family CEO said, “Budget 2019 must focus on targeted ‘evidence based’ increases to social welfare and we call on Minister Doherty to resist attempts to give blanket increases to all social welfare recipients. The Minister should use the realms of research that clearly show children living in one-parent families are consistently more likely to be poor than children in two parent families to target supports to one-parent families.”

Consistent research has shown that children in one-parent families are most at risk of poverty, Government must now act to support these vulnerable families. One Family’s Pre-Budget Submission includes recommendations that would enable Government to provide targeted supports to children living in poverty.

They include:

  • Full restoration of the Income Disregard for One-parent Family Payment and Jobseekers Transition. Increase earnings disregard to €161.40. In 2011, before the 2012 cuts were introduced, the earnings disregard equated to 16.9 hours of National Minimum Wage employment. A disregard of €161.40 would restore these hours and payment levels.
  • Standardise the child maintenance process and provide support for those parenting alone who are pursuing child maintenance. Do not leave this process solely to the parent with care responsibilities.
  • Raise the base rate of the Qualified Child Increase (QCI) from €31.80 to €35.00 per week for one-parent families most at risk of poverty and raise the QCI for children over the age of 12 to €37.80 per week, in recognition of the higher costs faced by families with older children.

One Family’s Pre-Budget Submission can be viewed here.

About One Family
One Family is Ireland’s organisation for one-parent families and people sharing parenting, or 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.

Further Information

Karen Kiernan, One Family, CEO  | t: 01 662 9212 / 086 850 9191.

Noel Sweeney, Communications & Events Manager | t: 01 662 9212

Press Release | Ireland in European Collaboration to Engage Employers to Support Lone Parents in the Workplace

In Ireland, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy and Scotland, new programmes promote work-family balance to support parents to enter and stay in employment.

One Family – Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting, and separating –has developed two professional learning programmes designed to support lone parents and employers to work together to forge better work-family balance practices in Ireland,Czech Republic, Germany, Italy and Scotland.

One Family has collaborated with four other European organisations that provide supports and services for one-parent families: APERIO in the Czech Republic; Berufundfamilie in Germany; Intermedia in Italy; and One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS). These innovative programmes,which involve parents and employers through online learning, have been created in response to the urgent need to improve access for people parenting alone to the job market in a more effective and fair way. The aim of the programmes is to contribute to lowering the risk of poverty for one-parent family households and to enable parents to unlock their full potential in contributing to the workforce.This is phase two of a four year collaboration with four programmes developed in total.

Valerie Maher, One Family Programme Manager,comments: “Lone parents want to make better futures for their children. In attempting to balance employment with parenting in a society where parenting requirements are often not recognised, many lone parents become employed in less qualified, lower paying and precarious employment, sometimes on zero hour contracts.They often suffer in-work poverty as a result. One Family will be engaging closely with employers in Ireland to design and implement the best approaches when working with lone parents as employees. We are providing easily accessible tools which will benefit employers and lone parents by supporting them to work more efficiently together which can achieve the potential of lone parents as employees to benefit their families and their employers.”

Two programmeshave been produced and piloted over the two-year period from 2016-2018:

  1. Online training for lone parents in employment who struggle to stay employed and progress in their roles.
  2. Online training for HR specialists and employers who want to benefit from the professional potential of lone parents and retain experienced staff.

For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie and www.strongerfamilies.eu

#WorkFamilyBalance  #StrongerFamilies


This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


88% of parents unhappy with campaign posters

Survey finds 75% of parents have discussed abortion with their children because of campaign.

A survey by One Family, Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting, and separating, has found that over 88% of parents think the referendum posters are unhelpful with 75% confirming the campaign has led to discussions with their children about abortion.

One Family, which provides crisis pregnancy and post abortion counselling services launched the survey last week following an escalation in the number of people seeking its counselling and parenting services, particularly its tips on how to speak to your child about abortion. The majority of those seeking support said they had done so after they, or their children, had seen graphic campaign posters.

Speaking about the results, One Family CEO Karen Kiernan said, “There has been a marked increase in women and couples seeking our counselling and parenting services. What we are finding is that parents are being triggered by the images into a conversation with their children that they are just not ready for. Many parents are particularly annoyed by posters that parents believe are targeting parents and children such as those being placed near schools. Although we don’t know how the parents might vote, overwhelmingly they are unhappy with the graphic posters.”

When asked ‘Have your children noticed the posters associated with the referendum campaign?’ 84% of parents said yes, their children had noticed the campaign while 88% answered No to the question ‘Have the posters associated with the referendum campaign been helpful to you as a parent?’

The survey found that 75% of parents had a discussion with their child about abortion because of the referendum but many did not do so proactively or willingly. Verbatim comments demonstrate some of the anger parents are feeling:

“This not a topic that I thought my 9 yr old was really ready to hear about or actually understand, but the more graphic posters from the no campaign made the topic impossible to avoid. Initially he was v shocked by the “killing babies” posters and was quite upset about it.”

The survey was conducted online by One Family through its social media and e-zine followers as well as via other organisations working with families and had over 300 respondents.  42% of parents who responded had children in the 6-10 age group, followed by 26% in the 3-5 age group and 20% in the 11+ age group.

 Selection of verbatim quotes from parents:

Q: Have your children noticed the posters associated with the referendum campaign?

“You can’t miss them 100 feet from their school gates.”

“Is it yes for abortion? What is abortion? Do you want abortion?”

“They are a constant source of discussion. They have come up in my child’s class 4th and when he was in 2nd classroom also discussed there. Think teachers are under pressure to provide age appropriate info. think it would associate abortion with killing and murder of babies because of the no posters and don’t know what effect this will have on these kids later.”

“ My 10 year old now informs me randomly that “1 in 5 ‘babies’ in the UK are aborted”

“Thankfully they are too young”

“My eldest son 9 has & can read. My 6 year old hasn’t noticed or hasn’t commented to me.”

Q: Have you discussed the issue of abortion and the referendum with your children as a result of the referendum campaign?

“I didn’t necessarily want to but had to. In the car. Images didn’t help at all. Would have likely discussed it but on my terms and in my words.”

“The campaigners left us with no choice but to discuss an issue which is not appropriate for our children”

“It’s been very difficult. I feel the posters are designed to be manipulative and to force parents into uncomfortable conversations with their children. Will the no side try to win at any price ? Even the innocence of children??”

“As far as it is Human Rights issue, content No poster not negative towards children”

“6 years old too young to discuss it with.”

“This not a topic that I thought my 9 yr old was really ready to hear about or actually understand, but the more graphic posters from the no campaign made the topic impossible to avoid. Initially he was v shocked by the “killing babies” posters and was quite upset about it.”

“He’s five so I’ve just explained about voting and we’ve practised voting with him and his younger sister on simple issues like what will we have for dinner. He hasnt read the word abortion he hasn’t asked so I haven’t discussed”.

Q: Have the posters associated with the referendum campaign been helpful to you as a parent?

“It’s nightmare explaining to 8 year old about abortion”

“I would have liked to have been in control of when we had the conversation.”

“Very difficult for them to get a balanced view when posters are so based on images of babies. I don’t think it is fair coverage. Referendum posters should be text only in my opinion.”

“Would answer somewhat helpful. Neither side is fully engaged or respectful with the impact this has on potential parents, pregnant women, but i would say particularly the No side has been disrespectful of women.”

“The images of foetuses on the posters with messages about killing etc. are extremely unhelpful because they have required explaining to my son (age 8) and that the No posters are lying about babies being aborted at 6 months, that they are just trying to manipulate people.”

“The posters are forcing parents to have to discuss a matter that’s just not appropriate for discussion with young children. I don’t want to tell my child why girls and women need access to a abortion ie when they have been raped, suicidal or when their life is at risk.”

“I’m lucky he hasn’t asked anything about the issue. But it’s been helpful to introduce the concept of voting and having a say in what the government does.”


Notes to Editor:

Survey ran online from Saturday 28 April to 9am Friday 4 May and 325 parents responded.

One Family, formerly Cherish, has been providing services and supports for people parenting alone, sharing parenting, and separating since 1972. One Family provides post-termination and crisis pregnancy counselling and supports to its clients in their roles as parents and into training, education and employment. One Family also provides support for children in one-parent families.

For more information on who we are and what we do please visit: www.onefamily.ie

One Family’s counselling services are funded by the HSE Sexual Heath and Crisis Pregnancy Programme (SHCPP). Details of HSE funded services are available on www.positiveoptions.ie and  www.abortionaftercare.ie

One Family’s parenting tips are available here:


For more information please contact:

  • CEO, Karen Kiernan on tel: 086 850 9191
  • Communications and Events Manager, Noel Sweeney on tel: 085 7241294

Update | Office Closed This Week

***Updated Thursday 1 March ***

The One Family office will now be closed until Monday 5th of March. We can be contacted during normal office hours at support@onefamily.ie


Our office will be closed today, Wednesday 28 February, due to the adverse weather conditions and the status red weather warning. We are unable to go ahead with the parenting programmes and other services today. The helpline will also be closed but if you need to contact us please email support@onefamily.ie. We will be monitoring the situation as the week progresses. Please keep an eye on our Facebook page for our latest updates. Stay safe.

News | Holiday Opening Hours

One Family offices and askonefamily helpline close for the holiday season on Thursday 21 December 2017, re-opening on Tuesday 2 January 2018.

We wish a joyful and peaceful Christmas and New Year to all.








Links to some external services and supports that may be of interest can be found here.

News | One Family Win Top Dublin Bus Community Spirit Award

One Family is honoured to have been selected as one of five recipients of the Dublin Bus Community Spirits Awards 2017. One Family received the top award of €5,000 along with four other worthy winners:  Anam Cara Parental & Sibling Bereavement Support; Darndale Belcamp Integrated Childcare Service Ltd; HalfTime Talk CLG and National Family Support Network. The Community Spirit Awards help to support the development of new projects, grow services and help raise community spirit in the local community.

These vital funds will be directed towards improving the One Family crèche and outdoor play facilities. Dublin Bus paid a visit to the crèche and you can watch a short video here