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.”

Labour market skills gap could be filled by lone parents

New future beckons for lone parents as return to work programme records over 70% success rate

MEDIA RELEASE

(Dublin, Thursday 6 September 2018) One Family – Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone and sharing parenting – has said that lone parents could fill the skills gap in the labour market if the Government were to provide targeted supports to parents. The call comes as the charity launched its annual review for 2017 which shows that, to-date,over 70% of graduates who completed the ESF funded ‘New Futures’, ‘Options’, ‘New Steps’ and ‘Pathway’ programmes are now in employment or education.

Speaking at One Family’s Annual Graduation event, One Family CEO Karen Kiernan said, “The long-term unemployment rate fell from 3.2 per cent of the labour force last year to 2 per cent today. This means the traditional pool of unemployed workers to grow our workforce is also drying up.There is an easily accessible solution available for the Government – lone parents. Many lone parents have been hampered in returning to the workforce by a lack of childcare, difficult relationships, court battles and an overly complex and punitive social welfare system.

“Our programmes show how targeted supports, such as specialist bridging programmes,can support parents on social welfare out of poverty and back to education and ultimately the work force. These parents are full of potential, hugely resilient, adaptable and committed and with adequate supports such as childcare and a more compassionate court and social welfare system they could help to reduce the skills shortage in the labour market.If Government is serious about lifting 100,000 children out of poverty in Ireland they need to start with children living in one-parent families and really support their parents to develop sustainable careers.”

Graduate and lone parent Sarah Conway said, “The programme was great, you’re supported and challenged to be the best person you can be and the opportunity to develop a clear career plan. But it’s more than that, it’s the support behind you, you feel like you are part of something and that whatever challenges you face there is somebody there to lend a hand. I’m back at work now and together with my daughters we can start to see light at the end of the tunnel and a better future.”

Ms Kiernan added, “The European Social Fund (ESF) funded these programmes butthey require ongoing mainstream funding from the Department of Employment Affairs &Social Protection so that parents around Ireland can access them. We have been calling since the cuts in Budget 2012 for specialist supports for parents on Job-Seeker’s Transition Allowance (JST) so they can be career-ready as their children grow. While the DEASPhave helped in terms of signposting parents to our programmes, they don’t currently offer this form of targeted support. We would call on the Government and the Department to invest in targeted, measurable supports that make a tangible difference to parents’ lives, society and the economy.”

/Ends.

 

Notes to editor:

About One Family One Family was founded in 1972 as Cherish and is Ireland’s organisation for one-parent families and people sharing parenting, or separating.

One Family programmes:

  • New Futures is One Family’s flagship 24 week personal and professional development, specialist bridging programme accredited at QQI level 4
  • Options is an education programme accredited at QQI level 4 & 5 delivered by Ballsbridge College of Further Education
  • New Steps is an eight week parenting support and self-development programme
  • Pathways is a eight week college preparation course is for those interested in, or going into, further education.

All One Family’s programmes are specifically designed for those parenting alone or sharing parenting and incorporate 1:1 and wrap around family support services.

Key statistics from the One Family’s Annual Review 2017:

  • 16policy submissions over 72 representations
  • 75,000visitors accessed information on onefamily.ie
  • over 4,100 queries received by askonefamily national helpline
  • 1 in 5 callers were specifically related to the One-Parent Family Payment
  • 25% of contacts had legal queries, mostly about access and maintenance
  • 1 in 3 calls were for listening support and lasted between 30 minutes to one hour
  • 20% of calls came from Dads.

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.
  • 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.

Link to One Family Annual Review 2017:

https://onefamily.ie/wpcontent/uploads/2011/12/14578_onefamily_review_2017_Final_web.pdf                                     For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie.

 

Available for Interview

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

Valerie Maher, Programmes Manager

Further Information/Scheduling

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

The New Futures project is part supported by the Irish Government and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning (PEIL) 2014-2020

One Family awarded contract for National Telephone Counselling Service for Crisis Pregnancy and Post-Abortion

[Dublin 4 September] Registered charity One Family has been appointed as the provider of the HSE’s National Telephone Counselling Service for Crisis Pregnancy and Post-Abortion. The service is due to start in 2019 and will provide a national counselling service to women experiencing an unplanned or crisis pregnancy. The appointment comes following a European wide e-tender process.

One Family CEO Karen Kiernan said: “One Family is delighted to build on our decades of experience in providing non-directive crisis pregnancy counselling to women, their partners or family members to ensure that women will have all the information and support they need when new legislation is enacted around the provision of abortion services in Ireland.”

The service will provide 20 hours of counselling by telephone per week. Whilst plans are still in development it is anticipated that this will primarily be delivered out of regular office hours. The Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme of the HSE undertook the commissioning of this service.

Whilst the maximum budget available for the 3 year service was €800K, One Family’s bid was significantly less than this. One Family has undertaken to provide four counsellors for the 20 hours per week as it is anticipated that demand will be high for this service.

Kiernan continued: “We look forward to working in partnership with the HSE’s Sexual Health & Crisis Pregnancy Programme so we can ensure that high quality services are available to people around Ireland who require them in a time of crisis. The HSE’s planned national promotional campaign will ensure that clear accurate information will be widespread about when and how to access this new innovative service.”

Notes to Editor:

One Family, formerly Cherish, has over 46 years experience working with women experiencing a crisis or unplanned pregnancy. One Family has been providing expert training around the issues of crisis pregnancy, abortion and working with migrants to crisis pregnancy counsellors via Maynooth University over the past eight years.

For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie.

Available for Interview

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

Further Information/Scheduling

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

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

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:

www.onefamily.ie/how-to-talk-with-your-child-about-abortion-a-guide-from-one-family/

For more information please contact:

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

Press Release | Another New Report Shows Lone Parents Experience Higher Levels of Deprivation and Child Poverty

One Family, Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting, and separating, welcomes the ERSI report Poverty Dynamics of Social Risk Groups in the EU in relation to the specific barriers faced by lone parents in both accessing work and their experience of higher levels of deprivation and child poverty. The paper draws on the EU-SILC dataset to investigate changes over the period 2004 to 2014 in the trends and dynamics in poverty for social risk groups in selected European countries representing different welfare regimes. Out of 11 EU countries, the persistent poverty gap in Ireland was the largest; it also increased the most during the study’s time frame.

The main findings of the report indicate that one-parent families in all countries have among the highest risks of both material deprivation and income poverty. Ireland, along with the UK, stood out as having poorer outcomes for vulnerable groups such as lone parents, especially in terms of material deprivation. Both are liberal welfare regime countries. The report also showed that lone parents face significant challenges in converting resources such as capital and skills into desired outcomes, with 43% of lone parents experiencing material deprivation in at least one of two consecutive years compared to 13% for other adults aged 30 to 65.

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO, states: “We have had multiple reports telling us that lone parents face significant barriers in being able to get into the workforce, in earning enough money to sustain their families and being able to keep their jobs. There is an incredible amount of evidence all telling the Government what they need to do which is to prioritise supports to people parenting alone who are on social welfare or low incomes.”

Karen continues: “It is extremely frustrating to see that not all social welfare cuts have yet been restored since Budget 2012; so many parents are not even back at the low level of income they were at in 2011. This is too long for thousands of children to have grown up in crushing poverty and to know nothing else. There is a Government commitment to lifting over 100,000 children out of poverty in the next two years – strong and specific actions must be focussed on children living in one-parent families to achieve this.”

According to Dorothy Watson of the ESRI, policies which successfully reduce poverty for the population as a whole are not enough to support vulnerable groups. “Proactive steps are required to address the deprivation experienced by lone parents and adults with disabilities, and also to tackle the higher rate of child poverty associated with these households. Such interventions are particularly urgent in Ireland, as the data show that the deprivation gap is most pronounced here,” she said, in the organisation’s press release.

The report also found that lone parents and adults with a disability face barriers when trying to get work. The ESRI suggested improving access to affordable childcare, flexible work arrangements and protection of secondary benefits such as medical cards to make getting to work easier.

NOTES FOR EDITORS

ERSI report : Poverty dynamics of social risk groups in the EU: an analysis of the EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions, 2005 to 2014

  • 1 in 4 families with children in Ireland is 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)
  • The average one parent family is has 1.63 children compared to an average of 1.95 for the population overall (Census 2016)
  • Individuals living in households where there was one adult and one or more children aged under 18 had the highest consistent poverty rate at 24.6%. This is compared to a consistent poverty rate of 6.4% for two-parent households. This means that lone parents are four times as likely to be living in consistent poverty compared to two-parent households. (SILC 2016)
  • 51% of lone parent households with one or more children experienced enforced deprivation. This compares to 21% of the general population who experienced deprivation, meaning lone parents are 2.5 times as likely to be experiencing deprivation than the rest of the population. (SILC 2016)
  • 40.2% of lone parent households are at risk of poverty. This is compared to an at risk of poverty rate of 12% for two-parent households. This means that lone parents are almost 3.5 times as likely to be at risk of poverty compared to households with two parents. (SILC 2016)
  • People in lone parent households continue to have the lowest disposable income out of all households with children in the State (SILC 2016)
  • For further facts and figures, visit onefamily.ie.

/Ends.

Press Release | Budget 2018: Much More Needed to Lift One-Parent Families out of Government-created Poverty

Press Release

Budget 2018: Much More Needed to Lift One-Parent Families out of Government-created Poverty

Indecon Report: Government saves €45m net but parents and children are poorer despite working

(Dublin, Tuesday 10 October 2017) One Family, Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting, and separating, acknowledges the announcement of the partial Income Disregard restoration – following previous budget cuts –  from €110 to €130 per week for One Parent Family Payment (OFP) and Jobseeker’s Transition Payment (JST) recipients, the €5 weekly social welfare payment increase, and the household income threshold for FIS increase by €10 for families of up to three children, along with new housing initiatives. However, it is not enough to lift lone parents and their children out of the consistent poverty and deprivation that resulted from previous reform of the One-Parent Family Payment, and to support them in overcoming systemic barriers in accessing education and employment.

Yesterday the Department of Employment & Social Affairs released the Indecon Independent Review of the Amendments to the One-parent Family Payment since January 2012 which should have formed the basis of changes in Budget 2018 for social-welfare dependent one-parent families. Increases should have been targeted and strategic to reach the poorest children and families across the board, following the evidence and Government commitments to lift 100,000 children out of poverty.

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO, states: “The Indecon Report is absolutely shocking – more parents are off welfare and working saving the state €45m net but more are living in poverty. There is so much work to be done to ensure that the appropriate services are in place to support people parenting alone into sustainable employment but we did not see that today. Of course, the increase to the Income Disregard is to be welcomed and will help some families.  And of course, it is heartening that Government listened to us and the families we work with on this issue. But we must also ask: why have Ministers not taken action on our other recommendations? Following years of ill-advised cuts and reform that targeted lone parents, this must happen now if the poverty experienced by one-parent families in receipt of social welfare payments is to be reversed.

“What lone parents want is a fair chance, and just like all members of our society, they should have one. Lone parents want to work and to learn; they want to have the opportunity to build brighter futures for their families. But the evidence shows that one-parent families are among those who have borne the brunt of years of austerity, that they still experience proportionally higher levels of poverty than any other members of our society today, and that the systemic barriers to employment and education are still not coming down. The recommendations contained in our Pre-Budget Submission, if implemented, will help to create those fair chances.”

Valerie Maher, One Family Policy & Programmes Manager, comments: “Today’s Budget goes a small way towards supporting lone parents and their children, but so much more is needed. It is alarming to see in the Indecon report that even those working full-time following removal from social welfare are living at risk of poverty and in daily deprivation. The Government must also be concerned about these families and not only those on social welfare.

“Currently we see parents in precarious, low paid employment and this is not a victory for Government policy, or a signpost to continue unchanged in this direction, as more children in more one-parent families are living in consistent poverty.”

One Family’s Pre-Budget Submission 2018 included recommendations designed to support lone parents into education and/or employment, while acknowledging their parenting responsibilities. It can be read here.

NOTES FOR EDITORS

  • One Family’s Pre-Budget Submission 2018 can be read here.
  • Our response to the Indecon Report is here.
  • Indecon Independent Review of the Amendments to the One-parent Family Payment since January 2012 is here.
  • 1 in 4 families with children in Ireland is 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)
  • The average one parent family is has 1.63 children compared to an average of 1.95 for the population overall (Census 2016)
  • Of the approximately 56,000 lone parents in receipt of One Parent Family Payment (OFP) or Job Seekers Transition Payment (JST), 34,700 are not engaged in employment and so remain below the income poverty threshold (Dept. of Social Protection, January 2017)
  • There are more than 14,000 One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) recipients in employment, and of 14,500 JST recipients, 5,000 recipients work. Family Income Supplement is also an important support for working parents with approximately 27,000 lone parents in receipt of the payment (Dept. of Social Protection, January 2017)
  • Those living in households with one adult and one or more children aged under 18 had the highest deprivation rate in 2015 at 57.9% (Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) 2015)
  • 58% (almost three in five) of lone parent households with one or more children experienced enforced deprivation. This compares to 25% of the general population who experienced deprivation (SILC 2015)
  • People in lone parent households continue to have the lowest disposable income out of all households with children in the State (SILC 2015)
  • Individuals living in households where there was one adult and one or more children aged under 18 had the highest consistent poverty rate at 26.2%, an increase from 25% in 2014. This is compared to a consistent poverty rate of 7.7% for two-parent households (SILC 2015)
  • For further facts and figures, visit onefamily.ie.

/Ends.

About One Family

One Family, founded in 1972 as Cherish, celebrates 45 years of supporting one-parent families in Ireland in 2017. It is Ireland’s leading 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 and presents the Family Day Festival every May, an annual celebration of the diversity of families in Ireland today (www.familyday.ie). For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie.

Available for Interview:

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO | t: 086 850 9191

Valerie Maher, One Family Policy & Programmes Manager | t: 086 084 6826

Further Information or to arrange an interview:

Shirley Chance, Director of Communications | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 414 8511
 

Statement | Response to Indecon Report on One Parent Family Payment Reform

One Family Response to the Report ‘Indecon Independent Review of the Amendments to the One-parent Family Payment since January 2012’

A long-awaited report, prepared by Indecon Research Economists on behalf of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, was released late this afternoon. It is regrettable this this important report has been made available on the evening before Budget 2018 is scheduled to be announced, as it warrants attention that it may not now receive.

Our initial analysis of the 141-page report highlights that:

  • While the Exchequer saves €45m net, lone parents and their children are poorer as a result of the recent reform of the One Parent Family Payment (OFP).
  • It is an in-depth report yet no recommendations and only short conclusions are offered.
  • Can any report guarantee accuracy if some of the survey questions from which the data is drawn provided only positive response options?
  • Where is the recognition of the parenting responsibilities of lone parents? One Family is shocked that childcare appears to be mentioned only twice.
  • Where too is the recognition of the impacts of the fear, stress, and uncertainty placed on lone parents and their children as a result of this reform; and the lack of clarity in its communication and implementation? 43% of parents reported that their family wellbeing decreased due to the reform and 40% said their children’s wellbeing decreased.
  • There is no indication that the marginal increases in employment will have any longevity given the precarious and low paid nature of these employments, and 53% of survey respondents stated that the OFP reforms resulted in being financially worse off. Only 20% noted an improvement.
  • 63% of the respondents in full-time employment stated that they cannot afford 3+ items on the deprivation list, meaning that they are most definitely experiencing deprivation daily, and in-work poverty.
  • There is no acknowledgment that lone parents in education and in receipt of OFP or Job Seekers Transition Payment (JST) and rent support cannot avail of the SUSI maintenance grant.

The report acknowledges that “a potential concern is that many of those who lost OFP remain unemployed or in low paid or part-time employment” and that “a key challenge for policymakers is to assist lone parents to become more integrated into the Irish labour market.”

One Family’s Pre-Budget Submission includes recommendations that would enable Government to achieve this. The failure of the reform of the OFP means that it is essential that Minister Doherty engage with these recommendations.

They include:

  • Full restoration of the Income Disregard.
  • Allow BTEA and SUSI maintenance to be payable together, targeting those most distant from the labour market.
  • Increased CDAQCI for older children and poorer families.
  • Target employability supports for lone parents.
  • It is also essential that, as we have consistently called for, the Department’s Case Officers receive training to support lone parents appropriately and in recognition of their lived realities.

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

The Indecon report can be read here.

Press Release | Government Must Use the Evidence: New Report Confirms Increased One-Parent Family Poverty

Press Release

Government Must Use the Evidence –

Another New Report Confirms Increased Poverty in One-Parent Families  

(Dublin, Monday 2 October 2017) One Family – Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone and sharing parenting – responds to the news that a report by Indecon Economic Consultants commissioned by Government to examine the impact of austerity measures on one-parent families confirms what One Family has been saying for years; lone parents and their children who are reliant on social welfare are suffering more since Governmental reform and cuts of the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) introduced in Budget 2012.

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO, explains: “Media coverage of the forthcoming research confirms what One Family has been saying for the past five years – the cuts since Budget 2012 were counter-productive, have led to increased child poverty in one-parent families, and must be fully reversed. Government needs to face the facts and respond effectively in this year’s Budget.

“The evidence is piling up showing that lone parents and their children have been damaged by the Budget 2012 cuts including the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection report in June on The Position of Lone Parents in Ireland; Maynooth University’s research on the barriers to education for lone parents published in August; and Lone Parents and Activation, What Works and Why: A Review of the International Evidence in the Irish Context, commissioned by the Department of Social Protection and conducted by Dr Michelle Millar and Dr Rosemary Crosse of the UNESCO Child & Family Research Centre in NUI Galway, published last September. Each of these reports provides a clear pathway of what is needed.”

The new Indecon report is based on a national survey of 34,000 one-parent families which began in April and is focussed on “the financial, social, poverty, and welfare dependency impacts” caused by cuts and reforms. It was specifically tasked with providing an overview of the impact of these changes to the One-Parent Family Payment and associated social welfare cuts.

Karen continues: “It is not acceptable to ignore vulnerable children and families. Politicians must do their job and follow the evidence. The Government has committed to lifting 100,000 children out of poverty and must use the resources available to them to achieve this. Most poor children live in one-parent families and their childhoods have been hit hard by cuts in recent years. Now there is an opportunity to invest appropriately and to ensure that lone parents can afford to work, can afford to access education, and can afford to feed their families.”

Valerie Maher, One Family Policy & Programmes Manager, states: “There is an extensive submission by leading Irish NGOs in association with Better Outcomes Brighter Futures – the National Strategy for Children and Young People outlining how the Government can reach its target of reducing child poverty rates in Ireland. As detailed in our Pre-Budget Submission for 2018, this is where the focus needs to be ensuring that work pays for lone parents on social welfare by reinstating the income disregard; ensuring that they can access education irrespective of their housing tenure; and focussing payments on the most vulnerable children and young people. The future for these children depends on what actions Government takes now.”

Notes and Links for Editors

/Ends.

About One Family One Family was founded in 1972 as Cherish and celebrates its 45th year in 2017 when the organisation will also relocate to Smithfield, Dublin 7. It is Ireland’s leading 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 (www.familyday.ie).

For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie.

Available for Interview

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

Valerie Maher, Policy & Programmes Manager | t: 01 662 9212 or 086 084 6826

Further Information/Scheduling

Shirley Chance, Director of Communications | t: 01 622 9212 or 087 414 8511