Webinar: Building a Family Law System for Families – recording now available

Thank you to everyone who was able to join our webinar on Building a Family Law System for Families. The panel was chaired by One Family CEO Karen Kiernan with panellists including Deputy Secretary General, Department Justice & Equality, Oonagh Buckley, former CEO of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service in England and Wales (Cafcass), Anthony Douglas,  His Honour Judge Colin Daly – President of the District Court and Peter Mullan – Head of Circuit & District Courts Directorate, Court Service of Ireland.

The panel looked at the experience of England and Wales in reforming their family law system and the proposed family law reforms set out in the Irish Government’s Programme for Government. A recording of the webinar is now available: https://youtu.be/ssGCZSsePng

 

Ireland remains decades behind neighbours in private family law services

Courts should be last resort for separating families

One Family CEO, Karen Kiernan, has said, Ireland is decades behind the rest of Europe in supporting families and protecting children who use the family law system.  Ms Kiernan’s comments come ahead of a free seminar of leading Irish and international experts on Family Law this Thursday, 2 July from 3pm – 5pm live online. The seminar Building a Family Law System for Families examines how the proposed family law reform as set out in the Programme for Government will work and will offer a vision for how radical change could be implemented for the better in the future.

Karen Kiernan, CEO of One Family explained: “Many of our family law systems are antiquated and overly focussed on conflict and court. What children and their separated parents need is support to share parenting well such as appropriate policies, legislation, mediation as well as necessary parenting and therapeutic services. They do not need to be unnecessarily funnelled into court hearings because there are no alternatives to resolve difficulties. Court should be the last resort.”

Speaking ahead of the seminar, Anthony Douglas CBE, former CEO of The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service in England (Cafcass) explains how the organisation re-engineered the entire family law system in England and Wales over the last ten years to provide a system rooted in the need for children’s safety and well-being:

“In England and Wales there was willingness amongst policy makers, practitioners and Government for a radical change in the provision of family law. There was a feeling that court practices were out of touch with the way children and families lived their lives. Working together, we transformed the system to reduce delay, be more child-focussed and to understand both the advantages and limitations of family courts in resolving family problems. Our goal has been to provide a therapeutic justice system focused on conflict resolution rather than having your day in court where there are rarely winners and losers. Ireland can learn a lot from the English and Welsh experience.”

Ms Kiernan added, “We have opportunities in the coming years to begin building a reformed family law system that focuses on the needs of families rather than on the courts, the legal practitioners or the state. The implementation and adequate resourcing of the proposed legislation on the Family Law Courts by the new Government is absolutely critical to begin this process. We need more family support services such as the counselling and parenting programmes provided by One Family and others funded to help families navigate the difficulties of separation and divorce.”

Speakers at the seminar include:

  • Oonagh Buckley – Deputy Secretary General, Department Justice & Equality
  • Anthony Douglas CBE – Former CEO of Cafcass
  • His Honour Judge Colin Daly – President of the District Court
  • Peter Mullan – Head of Circuit & District Courts Directorate, Court Service of Ireland.

For more information on the seminar click: https://onefamily.ie/family-law-conference/

For Editors:
One Family was founded in 1972 as Cherish and is Ireland’s national 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.
For further information visit: www.onefamily.ie

Cafcass:

Cafcass stands for the Child and Family Court Advisory and Support Service. Cafcass is a national arms-length Government body sponsored by the Ministry of Justice, providing a court-based service to 140,000 children a year in public and private law cases throughout England. Their remit is to understand and advise courts about the needs wishes and feelings of individual children.

Anthony Douglas CBE:

Anthony Douglas was Chief Executive of Cafcass from 2004-19 and now has a small consultancy business working in the UK and internationally. He took Cafcass from an ‘inadequate’ to an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating and from working with 60,000 children a year in 2008 to 140,000 in 2019. Anthony was an economist and a journalist prior to becoming a social worker and has written 4 books on UK social care and is now writing a fifth on the importance of social care in a civilised society. He was Director of Social Services in Suffolk between 2002 and 2004. He is now a Visiting Professor at the University of East Anglia and was a member of the Family Justice Board and the Adoption Leadership Board in England and Wales for many years. He was awarded a CBE in 2008 for services to family justice and adoption and was given the ‘outstanding contribution to social work’ award at the Social Worker of the Year Awards in November 2018. He is currently a member of a small advisory group to the President of the Family Division for England and Wales about transparency in the family courts.

For Interview:

Karen Kiernan, CEO | t: 086 850 9191

Anthony Douglas, former CEO of Cafcass

Further Information/Scheduling
Noel Sweeney, Communications and Events Manager | t: 085 7241294

 

84% increase in calls to lone parents’ helpline during lockdown

Press release: 1 June 2020

A specialist helpline for one-parent families has recorded an 84% increase in calls when compared with the same period last year as parents struggle with life in lockdown. The askonefamily helpline run by charity, One Family, provides support for people parenting alone, sharing parenting and those separating. The increase comes as parents seek support on new and challenging issues that have arisen since restrictions began such as access to shops, access/contact arrangements for separated parents, payment of child maintenance, guardianship issues, queries on their social welfare payments and money worries following loss of employment due to Covid19.

One Family CEO Karen Kiernan said, “All our services have been extremely busy as demand from parents increased due to the lockdown. As soon as restrictions were announced, we moved all our parenting and counselling services to telephone and online. We rolled out new services such as parent & toddler groups and coffee mornings via Zoom to combat social isolation and provide practical support to parents. In response to demand, we also introduced specialist slots on our expanded helpline from our parenting, early years and play therapy staff to answer questions on changes to children’s behaviour and other parenting issues arising during lockdown.”

Helpline manager Sarah Devilly said, “We’re hearing more distress on calls as parents try to cope with an extended period of balancing childcare with work and/or managing a loss of income and changed family routines and reduced contact with other family members. Calls to the askonefamily helpline tend to vary greatly with some short focused calls as parents seek and find the information they need, while others can last up to an hour as parents seek listening support and an opportunity to talk about their particular problems.”

Karen Kiernan added, “The issues that are coming up on the helpline are reflected in results of a recent survey we did, with 42% of parents concerned about access issues during lockdown and 65% worried about what happens to their child if they were to get sick. We have been working to address these issues with guidance on how to manage access/contact arrangements in your family [link] and guidance on planning to look after your child if you were to get sick [link].

“We’ve also being working behind the scenes and in the media to raise awareness of the issue of children being banned in shops, with some success as responsible retailers adapted their policies and the Taoiseach’s office called for retailers to adopt a common sense approach [link]. Though there are still problems for some families as some retailers ignore advice from Government to protect vulnerable families.”

One Family want to assure parents that we are here to help and the askonefamily helpline is open to answer questions visit www.onefamily.ie

/Ends/

askonefamily helpline:
Telephone: lo-call: 1890 662 9212or from a mobile 01-662 9212
Email: info@onefamily.ie
Social Media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

For Editors:
One Family was founded in 1972 as Cherish and is Ireland’s national 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 66 22 12, counselling, and provision of training courses for parents and for professionals. For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie. The askonefamily helpline can be contacted on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or 01-6629212.

All One Family’s services are open though operating with some restrictions during Covid-19 click here for a list of services

For further information visit: www.onefamily.ie

Available for Interview
Karen Kiernan, CEO | t: 086 850 9191

Further Information/Scheduling
Noel Sweeney, Communications and Events Manager | t: 085 7241294

One Family welcomes plan to expand family law cases – warns reform must continue post-COVID in the new Government

[9 May 2020] One Family – Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting and separating, today, welcomed the announcement that the District court is working to hear more cases during the COVID crisis specifically in relation to access and child maintenance issues.

One Family CEO Karen Kiernan said, “Our askonefamily helpline has been inundated with calls in recent weeks from concerned and conflicted parents in relation to access visits and child maintenance payments in particular. We are very pleased to note the Courts Service and the President of the District Court listen to our concerns on these issues and commit to hearing access and maintenance issues as urgent.”

Ms. Kiernan added, “As courts and parents adapt to remote and scheduled hearings during this crisis we are calling on the next Government to continue this reform process and ensure that the draft Family Law Courts legislation is included in the next Programme for Government. Significant work has been completed on this legislation and it is critical to providing the basis for vital reforms of the family law system in Ireland which is decades behind our neighbours.”

“We calling on all parties and to include Reform of Family Law and the establishment of a statutory child maintenance agency in the programme for Government as outlined in One Family Election Manifesto.”

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For Editors:

One Family was founded in 1972 as Cherish and is Ireland’s national 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 66 22 12, counselling, and provision of training courses for parents and for professionals. For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie. The askonefamily helpline can be contacted on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or 01-6629212.

All One Family’s services are open though operating with some restrictions during Covid-19 click here for a list of services

One Family’s Election Manifesto here.

For further information visit: www.onefamily.ie 

Available for Interview

Karen Kiernan, CEO | t: 086 850 9191

Further Information/Scheduling

Noel Sweeney, Communications and Events Manager | t: 085 7241294

Sherie de Burgh Memorial Fund Launched

Fund launched for vital perinatal counselling services and to support vulnerable mothers and children.

Press Release: Sunday, 16 February 2020

A fund in memory of renowned Irish crisis pregnancy counsellor, Sherie de Burgh, was launched last night at an event in Trinity College Dublin. The event co-hosted by Trinity College’s School of Social Work and Social Policy featured speakers including former Senator. Mary Henry,  Dr. Catherine Conlon, Senator Ivana Bacik; former HSE director – Tony O’Brien; One Family CEO Karen Kiernan and Sinéad Gibney. The fund has been established to provide vital perinatal counselling services for mothers and to support vulnerable one-parent families.

Speaking at the event One Family CEO, Karen Kiernan said, “Sherie was a fearless advocate for the rights of women and their families in the decades when legislation on sexual health services presented barriers for so many. If Sherie was alive now she’d be delighted at the progress that has been made with the removal of the eighth amendment but she would be shocked that mothers and children continue to struggle for basic services and so many are homeless.”

Former Senator Mary Henry said, “Ireland in the 70s, 80s and 90s was a bleak place for those on the margins of society particularly unmarried women who were pregnant. Sherie de Burgh fought for women’s reproductive rights when it wasn’t fashionable to do so. As our society changes, it’s important to remember Sherie who quietly got on with ensuring hundreds of women and couples with crisis pregnancies were able to somehow access the services and supports they so desperately needed. This fund in Sherie’s honour will help meet some of the needs of the most vulnerable families in Ireland.”

For more information on Sherie’s Memorial fund and the launch click here:

The Sherie de Burgh Memorial Fund will help to support some of the most vulnerable children and families in the state. The fund will focus on two areas of Sherie’s work that she was particularly passionate about:

  • Perinatal therapy: Perinatal therapy provides specialist therapeutic supports for mothers and their babies immediately before and after birth. The therapy works to strengthen lifelong attachments and security between mother and child. This may be particularly beneficial for mothers who have experienced an unplanned or crisis pregnancy, domestic violence or who have practical challenges such as homelessness.
  • Financial support for vulnerable families:Sherie worked with some of the most vulnerable children and families in our society; families experiencing homelessness, direct provision, addiction and abuse. The Sherie fund will be used to continue Sherie’s work and to help to support vulnerable children and families when they most need it. Instances include the purchase of school uniforms, fees for education course or for baby equipment.

 

Editor’s Note:

Sherie de Burgh:

Sherie de Burgh was renowned as Ireland’s leading and longest serving counsellor on the contentious issues of crisis pregnancy, abortion services and parenting, she fearlessly advocated for the rights of women and their families in the decades when legislation on sexual health services presented barriers for so many.

Starting her counselling career with the IFPA before progressing to One Family, Sherie had a deep empathy for the women and men she worked with. She became expert in supporting people who had very complex needs working frequently with young migrant women and parents – helping them when they had nobody else.

Sherie died after a long illness on 15 February 2017 having retired from One Family. She is still missed, loved and thought about frequently – and her courage and tenacity still guides our work today as we frequently ask ourselves ‘What would Sherie do?’ To read Sherie’s obituary written by Shelia Wayman please click here:

 

One Family was founded in 1972 as Cherish and is Ireland’s national 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 66 22 12, counselling, and provision of training courses for parents and for professionals. For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie. The askonefamily helpline can be contacted on lo-call 1890 66 22 12.

 

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 and Events Manager | t: 01 622 9212 or 085 7241294

One Family calls on parents to challenge GE candidates on child poverty, homelessness and family law reform.

One Family, Ireland’s national organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting and separating has called on parents to challenge General Election candidates with a series of questions on their plans to address homelessness, child poverty and reform of Ireland’s archaic family law system. The call comes following the launch of the organisation’s Election Manifesto and as the charity sets about mobilising the almost quarter of a million one-parent families in the state.

One Family CEO Karen Kiernan said, “Families living in makeshift accommodation and children going without a warm meal shouldn’t happen in Ireland. It’s not who we are. But every night thousands of children and families go without these basic needs, caught in a broken system that pulls them under. It doesn’t have to be this way. Poverty and homelessness are not inevitable. They are symptoms of a broken system.”

One-parent families now make up over a quarter of all families in Ireland. Yet many are struggling to stay afloat against a rising tide of poverty. These families represent a growing and restless force in every constituency in Ireland. They are disproportionately affected by child poverty, homelessness and a family law system that is decades behind our European neighbours. We are asking one-parent families to challenge, in a friendly yet firm manner, election candidates on their plans to address Child Poverty, Homelessness, Reform of Family Law and Constitutional change. Our four top priorities for General Election 2020 are:

  • End Child Poverty: Meet and expand on the current target to lift 70,000 children out of poverty by 2020. Develop another target and commit to a strong implementation system with high level political support. Ensure adequate income levels for all families and households through independent benchmarking of income supports.
  • End Homelessness: Ireland has a national crisis of homelessness which disproportionately affects one-parent families. Commit to prioritising the building of social housing for families and ensuring that children do not spend longer than six months in emergency accommodation.
  • Reform Family Law & Court Welfare Service: Build on family law reforms and commit to developing a comprehensive public Court Welfare Service including a statutory Child Maintenance Service. Ireland is decades behind our European neighbours and must ensure the safety of children and parents in family law proceedings.
  • Protect All Families in Ireland: Commit to a referendum to update Article 41.3 of the Constitution to extend rights and protection to all families.

Read our Election Manifesto here:

Ms Kiernan added, “We know the issues that are raised on the doors are fed back to party headquarters and are included in future Programmes for Government so we are asking parents to let their voice be heard. We have put together a list of questions that might help parents to start the conversation with the local candidates so they can make up their own minds on who to vote for.”

/Ends/

Editor’s Note:

One Family was founded in 1972 as Cherish and is Ireland’s national 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 66 22 12, counselling, and provision of training courses for parents and for professionals. The askonefamily helpline can be contacted on lo-call 1890 66 22 12.

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 and Events Manager | t: 01 622 9212 or 085 7241294

One Family’s Election Manifesto 2020

One Family’s Election Manifesto 2020

Families living in makeshift accommodation and children going without a warm meal shouldn’t happen in Ireland. It’s not who we are. But every night thousands of children and families go without these basic needs, caught in a broken system that pulls them under. It doesn’t have to be this way. Poverty and homelessness are not inevitable. They are symptoms of a broken system.

One-parent families now make up over a quarter of all families in Ireland. Yet many are struggling to stay afloat against a rising tide of poverty. These families are three and a half times as likely to be at risk of poverty as two-parent households (CSO – SILC 2018).  In our Election Manifesto we give our Top Four Election Priorities click here for a copy of the manifesto 

  • End Child Poverty: Meet and expand on the current target to lift 100,000 children out of poverty by 2020. Develop another target and commit to a strong implementation system with high level political support. Ensure adequate income levels for all families and households through independent benchmarking of income supports.
  • Reform Family Law & Court Welfare Service: Build on family law reforms and commit to developing a comprehensive public Court Welfare Service including a statutory Child Maintenance Service. Ireland is decades behind our European neighbours and must ensure the safety of children and parents in family law proceedings.
  • Protect All Families in Ireland: Commit to a referendum to update Article 41.3 of the Constitution to extend rights and protection to all families.
  • End Homelessness: Ireland has a national crisis of homelessness which disproportionately affects one-parent families. Commit to prioritising the building of social housing for families and ensuring that children do not spend longer than 6 months in emergency accommodation.

We are also asking voters to hold ‘would-be’ politicians to account with a series of questions to test their commitment to these priorities.

[1] List of research at One Family Budget 2020 submission. https://onefamily.ie/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Budget-2020_One-Family-Pre-Budget-Submission-2020.pdf

One-parent families remain the most consistently poor families with children in this state

[Dublin, Thursday 28 November] The latest Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC 2018) results  show that one-parent families are now four times as likely than two-parent households to live in consistent poverty. While One Family welcomes the drop in both ‘at risk’ and ‘deprivation’ poverty rates since last year, ‘consistent’ poverty rate drops are not statistically significant at 1.5%,  and continue to keep one-parent families locked in poverty.

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO, says. “Hidden behind these figures are parents struggling to put food on the table and clothes on children’s backs, keeping them in school. The SILC report reflects what we are hearing daily through our helpline and through our family support services. Parents and children are being crushed by poverty. While there were some welcome measures in Budget 2020 the consistent poverty rate remains too high. Repeated Government  and independently commissioned reports have set out what needs to be done so now Government just need to act.”

Valerie Maher, One Family Policy & Programmes Manager, says: “Lone parents continue to struggle to meet the most basic costs of living including housing, food, heating and clothes. This is unacceptable and should not be normalised. While we welcome the drop in enforced deprivation rates, we note that consistent poverty remains a core problem. This needs an whole-of-Government response to be reversed. Government need to do more if it’s to meet its own target of lifting 100,000 children out of poverty by 2020.

In 2018, individuals living in households where there was one adult with children aged under 18 continue to have the highest consistent poverty rate at 19.2% or nearly a fifth of all one-parent families. This is compared to a consistent poverty rate of 5% for two-parent households. We know the causes of poverty in one-parent families largely arise from structural inequality. Government know the resolution to this problem is to develop these structural supports and they now need to act.

One-in-four families in Ireland is a one-parent family. Research shows that a key contributor to children’s futures is not the structure of their families but living in consistent poverty.

/Ends.

About One Family

One Family was founded in 1972 as Cherish. It 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 (www.familyday.ie).

For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie.

Link to SILC 2018

Link to One Family Pre-Budget Submission

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

Some positive moves to be welcomed but this falls short of the required Children’s Budget

Wednesday 9 October 2019

One Family welcomes the targeted measures in Budget 2020 for working lone parents and the commitment to fund research into child maintenance. Specifically, we welcome the targeted increases to help make work pay for lone parents and that restore payments to the ‘pre-cuts’ 2012 levels. These are: an increase of €15 in income disregards for the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) and Jobseekers Transition Allowance (JST); an increase of €10 to the income threshold for the Working Family Payment for families with up to 3 children; and increases in the Qualified Child Increase (QCI) by €3 for over 12s and €2 for under 12s.

Karen Kiernan, CEO of One Family, said “We are pleased that Government has been listening to us and our colleagues over the past year and have implemented some of the specific and targeted measures that we looked for. However they did not deliver a Children’s Budget to support Ireland’s poorest children out of their daily poverty and they did not use the evidence available to them when making all decisions.”

One Family notes there are still inequalities in how one-parent families are treated in the social welfare code when compared to two-parent families and these issues need to be resolved as a matter of urgency. Kiernan continued: “we know the vast majority of Ireland’s poorest children live in one-parent families therefore we must target supports at them. Unnecessary barriers need to be urgently removed to ensure that lone parents are treated fairly particularly in relation to eligibility requirements for the Working Family Payment and the Back to School Clothing & Footwear Allowance. It is just not right to let children’s lives be restricted by poverty”.

Kiernan welcomed the commitment to the establishment of a statutory Child Maintenance Agency saying: “We are pleased that Minister Doherty has committed €150,000 to research this important issue. We hope this will include robust stakeholder engagement and feed into existing evidence and work on child maintenance.”

Kiernan also welcomed the fact that Minister Zappone listened to the concerns about lone parents at risk of losing out in the new National Childcare Scheme saying: “It is reassuring that lone parents can now stay on existing subsidies until August 2021 if this is helpful to them. An additional five hours per week for those on income-based subsidies is also something we looked for and have received.”

But we continue to have deep concerns about the impact of the Budget on the most vulnerable children. If we enter into a No Deal Brexit, which seems the most likely scenario, these families, who are already held back through poverty, will slip further behind. Brexit may well be an economic tsunami for them – particularly those families in rural Ireland where the economic impact of a No Deal may be most felt. Increases to carbon tax and knock-on effects on fuel and energy use are a real issue and will push the vulnerable into further poverty.

–        

-Ends  –

For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie.

Link to One Family Pre-Budget Submission:

Link to One Family Child Maintenance Paper:

Link to One Family Budget Comparison document:

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

‘First responder shouldn’t be a solicitor’ – Support services for separating families urgently needed across Ireland

[Monday, September 16, 2019] One Family, Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting and separating has called for the urgent rollout of specialist support services for families who are going through the long process of separating. The call comes as the charity launched its Annual Review for 2018 which has seen an 82% increase in demand for its services compared with 2017.

One Family CEO Karen Kiernan said, “Since 2017, there has been an 82% increase in requests for our services with a large spike in demand for services for families separating. Services such as our Tusla-funded, Separating Well for Children project show the depth of demand that exists from people going through the private family law system and similar services are urgently required nationwide. Through this project we have found ourselves frequently bridging gaps in services that exist for vulnerable separated parents and their children. This project deescalates the conflict within the family using mediation, parenting support as well as creative therapies for children, allowing parents to put aside their own grievances and focus on the welfare of their children.When families separate the first responder shouldn’t be a solicitor – instead child-focussed, affordable supports should be available locally”.

Ms. Kiernan added, “In 2018, we delivered over 8,430 intensive in-person supports, while our askonefamily helpline received over 4,000 queries, we would urge anyone who needs advice when separating to call our helpline on lo-call 1890 662 212. Demand for our services has never been higher partly due to the increased number of people parenting alone, sharing parenting and separating. But it also reflects the poverty rates amongst lone parents who, because of spiralling homelessness and deprivation rates, are relying more and more on our services. We anticipate that demand for our services will increase in the years ahead and the Government must now look to urgently fund specialised support services for separated families in crisis throughout the country.”

/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 sharingparenting, or separating.

Key statistics from the One Family’s Annual Review 2018:

  • 82% increase in service delivery from 2017.
  • 8,430 intensive in-person supports.
  • 11 policy submissions over 65 policy representations.
  • Nearly 4,100 queries received through the Askonefamily helpline.
  • 29% of queries related to family life and parenting.
  • 1,841 counselling sessions were delivered an increase of 49% on 2017.
  • Over 1,000 parenting services delivered.
  • 40% of parenting participants were Dads.

Statistics on one-parent families:

  • 1 in 5 people in Ireland live in a one-parent family (Census 2016)
  • 1 in 4 families with children in Ireland is a one-parent family (Census 2016)
  • There were 218,817 (25.4%) family units with children (of any age) headed by a lone parent. This is an increase of over 3,500 families since 2011. Almost 90,000 were single; a further 50,496 were widowed while the remaining 68,378 were separated or divorced.
  • This represented approximately one in four of families with children and one in five of all families (25.4% of all family units with children in Ireland and 18% of all family units).
  • 356,203 children lived in one parent families, representing more than one in five or 21.2% of all children in family units.
  • The total number of divorced people in Ireland has increased from 87,770 in 2011 to 103,895 in 2016.This is an increase of over 44,000 people in the last ten years.
  • In contrast, the number of people identified as separated has levelled off and stood at 118,178, up marginally from 116,194 five years earlier. As divorce in Ireland generally requires a period of separation in the first instance (up to five years) the figures reflects both a progression for people from separation to divorce, combined with more people becoming separated.

Link to One Family Annual Review 2018:

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 and Events Manager | t: 01 622 9212 or 085 7241294