‘Courting Disaster’ coalition calls on Government to urgently allocate funding for a dedicated Family Law Court

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

askonefamily helpline develops new information resources for parents

The askonefamily helpline has developed the first in a series of new information resources to help one-parent families

These are the first in a series of new resources the Askonefamily helpline is developing to make information more accessible to parents.

About askonefamily

askonefamily provides information on: social welfare entitlements and issues, family law issues, housing, education, finances, childcare, parenting and community supports. We also offer support for those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy.

Call a trained askonefamily team member on 01 662 9212* or email helpline@onefamily.ie.

We’re recruiting for Counsellors for My Options | March 2019

Counsellors for My Options – the National Information and Counselling Helpline for Unplanned Pregnancy | March 2019

  • Part-time Telephone Counsellor (Maternity Leave Cover)
  • Locum Telephone Counsellors (Sessional work)

Are you interested in joining the My Options team providing information and support to those with an unplanned pregnancy? If so, and you are a qualified, accredited counsellor with 3 years of counselling experience this could be the role for you.

One Family is recruiting experienced, professionally accredited counsellors for the My Options phone line for unplanned pregnancy.

If you are an enthusiastic, committed and experienced professional counsellor who is committed to women’s sexual and reproductive health, who would like to work in a progressive, voluntary sector organisation– you may wish to consider this post.

Extensive training will be offered in unplanned pregnancy counselling, post abortion counselling and telephone counselling skills.

My Options provides the following:

  • Counselling and listening support for those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy
  • Post-abortion counselling
  • Information on abortion, including services that provide abortion in Ireland and abroad
  • Information on the options of parenting and adoption
  • Signposting and referrals to other relevant, professional services.

One Family is Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting and separating families – see www.onefamily.ie for full information. We have been providing non-directive counselling services to women and their families who experience unplanned or crisis pregnancies for several decades.

Person Specification:

Candidates need to:

  • Have a minimum of 3 years proven counselling experience
  • Have a relevant counselling/ psychotherapy qualification
  • Be an accredited member of IACP, IAHIP or another professional counselling body
  • Have experience of working in a team
  • Have a client-focussed perspective
  • Be enthusiastic and motivated
  • Be well organised with good attention to detail
  • Have good ICT skills.

The ideal candidate will:

  • Have experience of telephone  counselling, online counselling or helpline work
  • Have experience of unplanned pregnancy counselling
  • Have experience of information provision.

Counsellor role and responsibilities:

  • To provide telephone support and counselling on all options for unplanned pregnancy
  • To provide information on abortion services in Ireland
  • To provide information and support online via webchat
  • To  deliver post-abortion counselling
  • Maintain all quality/professional standards and codes of practice
  • Attend relevant internal and external supervisions and trainings
  • Maintain all relevant administration, monitoring information and data
  • Follow all policies, procedures, protocols and guidelines
  • To contribute to evaluations, policy, reports, funding applications etc as requested
  • To be line managed by the My Options Manager and take direction where appropriate on issues relating to clients
  • To maintain the high professional and ethical standard in provision of care to clients.

The service runs between 9am and 9pm from Monday to Friday, as well as Saturday morning between 10am and 2pm.  Staff will be required to work day time and evening shifts of 4-6 hours duration.

The part-time Telephone Counsellor position (Maternity Leave Cover) is for 18 hours a week; additional hours may be needed so flexibility will be required. The panel of Locum Telephone Counsellors will provide sessional cover for shifts of between 4- 6 hours duration.

The service will be located in Dublin 7; remote working is not available for this position.  The full time (35 hour week) salary scale is €39,311 – €42,799 for the level of skills required; the salary offered will be pro-rata, based on skills and experience. 

Informal enquiries are welcome.

Application Procedure:

A cover letter addressing the required competencies and a CV, including the date of your professional accreditation, should be sent to:  My Options Manager, One Family, 8 Coke Lane, Smithfield, Dublin 7 or by email to info@onefamily.ie. First round interviews will take place on Friday 22 March with second round interviews scheduled to take place Tuesday 26 March.

Closing date for applications is 10am on Wednesday 20 March 2019

One Family is an equal opportunities employer

Fun, family friendly, fundraiser at Third Space, Smithfield

Fun, family friendly, fundraiser at Third Space, Smithfield on Friday February 22 from 7.00pm-9.30pm. Third Space as part of their Square Meal initiative provide all the food for free, the staff work for free, you enjoy a beautiful meal in the company of lovely people and you donate what you think the meal was worth/what you can afford and it all goes to One Family so we can continue to support families most in need. You can BYOB if you want and children are very welcome. You can book directly with Third Space on 01-529-7208 or email office@thirdspace.ie. Thanks for your support!

We’re hiring counsellors for the National Information and Counselling Helpline for Crisis Pregnancy

Counsellors for the National Information and Counselling Helpline for Crisis Pregnancy | Nov 2018

Are you interested in being part of an exciting, new and innovative service for women in Ireland? If so, and you are a qualified, accredited counsellor with 3 years of counselling experience this could be the role for you.

One Family is recruiting additional, experienced, professionally accredited counsellors for the new National Information and Counselling Helpline for Crisis Pregnancy which we will deliver on behalf of the HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme.

To learn more click here.


Policy | Recruitment Open for the One Family Parents Policy Panel 2017

Let your voice be heard! One Family is seeking willing participants to engage with our Policy Panel 2017. The Panel will consist of 10-12 lone parents and/or parents sharing parenting, who will collaborate with One Family throughout 2017 on policy positions and our budget submission to the Government. Panel members will be encouraged to contribute their own lived experience and personal circumstances in order to produce a Budget submission and policy papers which reflect the reality for one-parent families in Ireland today.

Those interested in taking part should:
1. Wish to articulate their opinions and be comfortable discussing personal experiences and opinions, and core budget issues (housing, childcare etc.).
2. Currently live in Ireland – we hope to hear from people from both urban and rural areas.
3. Be able to commit to a minimum of three hours per month, and be willing to log into the discussion group on our Facebook page (a mixture of phone and online engagement with occasional meetings in Dublin 2) on a volunteer basis.

If you want to get involved please complete the survey below by the 15th of February 2017.

Click here to apply.

Policy | Submission to the Citizen’s Assembly on the 8th Amendment

OFOne Family has sent a submission to the Citizen’s Assembly on the 8th Amendment.

One Family believes that the presence of the 8th Amendment causes real harm to the women and families whom One Family supports. It leads to the greater likelihood of later and less safe abortion; of women self aborting with pills on their own in isolation; of poorer physical and mental health; of increased shame, stigma and stress.

This amendment and subsequent legislation including the 1995 Information Act and the 2014 Protection of Life in Pregnancy Act has resulted in an extremely regulated environment for women who need to access abortion services, for those who provide crisis pregnancy counselling and for those providing medical and health care to pregnant women. These legislative measures do not support women’s health care and a client-centred approach.

Based on One Family’s 44 years of work with vulnerable women the focus is always on the well being and safety of the clients. This is severely compromised by the various laws in relation to abortion and the regulation of pregnant women in Ireland.

One Family strongly recommends that the 8th Amendment is removed from our Constitution, that abortion is decriminalised and that the provision of an abortion becomes solely a health matter between a woman and her doctor.

You can read the full submission here

Policy | The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) Report

OFThe European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) published a new report last week entitled Poverty, Gender and Intersecting Inequalities in the EU Review of the implementation of Area A: Women and Poverty of the Beijing Platform for Action.

This report is part of EIGE’s mandate to monitor EU progress towards gender equality, specifically in relation to the objectives of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA) and it is hoped that its findings and recommendations offer solid and useful evidence to address the unresolved challenges for gender equality facing Europe today.

One Family know the shocking and unacceptable facts and we hear the families we work with and support; and it’s time that Government fully listens to and takes real action to honour its commitment to lift over 97,000 children out of consistent poverty by 2020.

Some of the key findings:

Almost every second lone mother (49 per cent) across the EU and a third of lone fathers (32 per cent) are at risk of poverty or social exclusion.

What lone mothers as well as lone fathers tend to lack are financial security and savings for larger or unexpected expenses, rather than specific items such as a phone or a television. 26 % of lone mothers and 16 % of lone fathers have experienced difficulties in paying utility bills.

Lone parents are more often lacking resources to spend on themselves, particularly lone mothers. Only 55 % of lone mothers say that they can spend a small amount of money each week on themselves (compared to 78 % of lone fathers).

The risk of poverty or exclusion among lone parents is very different across the EU-28, varying from 35 % in Slovakia, Finland and Sweden to 58 % in Cyprus, Hungary, Ireland and the United Kingdom, and 69 % in Bulgaria.

When compared to couples with children, parents who are bringing up a child or children without a partner face poverty remarkably more often. The gaps between the poverty rates of couples with children and lone parents are significantly wide, and stand at up to 38 percentage points in Cyprus and the United Kingdom and 37 percentage points in Belgium and Ireland.


Summary Factsheet

Parenting | Supporting your children through shared parenting

divorce-156444_1280According to The United Nations Rights of the Child, it is the right of the child to have contact with both parents after parental separation; yet many parents see it as their right, as parents, to have contact with their child.

When it comes to contact with children, mums can hold the power from day one: they carry the baby for nine months so straight away they make the very first decisions about the baby. All too easily, fathers can take a back seat in parenting and when a separation occurs they can struggle to assert their position as an involved father. So many separated fathers, whom I work with, want to be hands-on fathers. Men are as capable as women but culturally we are often led to believe they are not.

It is not good for children to see two parents without equal status. If society doesn’t encourage fathers to play an active role in parenting then we are not allowing children the full opportunities they are entitled to: the right to both parents provided it is safe for the child.

We need to separate out poor partners from poor parents: it is a different relationship. Children only have two biological parents; allowing them every opportunity to have a relationship with both parents is important to the positive outcome of their lives. Here we offer ’10 ways’ to support your child through shared parenting:

  1. Explore what prevents you from allowing the other parent to have an active parenting role. Is this a genuine concern based upon facts or an opinion you have formed? Does your child feel safe and happy with the other parent? Try to follow their lead. Take small steps to try and build confidence in their ability.
  2. Start with small steps changes in contact. Talk with your child about what they would like to happen.
  3. Reassure your child that you trust that their other parent loves them and therefore you want both parents to be active in their life.
  4. Ask the other parent to do practical things to support parenting rather than only getting involved for the fun parts.
  5. Allow them to have opportunities to take children to and from school, to the doctor, the dentist and to after-school activities. Your child only has one life, it does not need to be separated into mum’s time and dad’s time.
  6. Share practical information with the other parent about your child’s development and everyday life. Know what stage your child is at. Don’t expect to be told everything, find things out for yourself, ask questions, read up on child development and talk to the school if you are a legal guardian.
  7. Pay your maintenance and don’t argue over the cost of raising a child. If you receive maintenance be realistic about what the other parent can afford. If you were parenting in the same home you would do everything you possibly could to ensure your child has what they need. It cannot be any different just because you parent separately.
  8. Buy what your child needs and not what you want to buy for your child. It is always lovely to treat children but not when it means they have no winter coat. Talk with the other parent about what the child has and what they need.
  9. Ask your family to respect your child’s other parent. They are, and always will be, the parent of your child. Children need to know that family respect their parents. It is not healthy for the extended family to hold prejudice over parents.
  10. If you are finding it really difficult to allow your child have a relationship with their other parent, seek professional support to explore the reasons for this. There is obviously a lot of hurt and I am not dismissing this in anyway but if you can move on you will allow your child to have positive experiences.

This ’10 Ways to’ article is by One Family’s Director of Children & Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, as part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips. You can read the full series here.

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and information on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or on 01 662 9212.

Join the One Family Parenting Group online here