More Children Live in Poverty Because of Lack of Quality Childcare to Enable Lone Parents to Work
European Commission Highlighting of Childcare Provision Failure
for One-Parent Families Welcomed by One Family
(Dublin, Tuesday 3 June 2014) One Family – Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families in Ireland today – welcomes the highlighting of the need for quality affordable childcare for lone parents which would increase existing low levels of female participation in the workplace, ultimately reducing poverty levels and social exclusion for children, by the European Commission this week.
There has been a significant shift of emphasis in social policy to early years interventions targeted to help children from poorer backgrounds. In many respects this focus is welcome: it acknowledges, for example, that disadvantage starts from birth and needs to be corrected for from the outset of children’s lives. Government fully recognises the value of an accessible childcare system and now needs to deliver it.
Yet despite the widespread recognition of the critical importance of the early years, our Government often seems to fail to acknowledge the reality of child poverty in Ireland today and to design interventions that truly tackle the hardships that poor children encounter. Those living in lone parent households continue to experience the highest rates of deprivation with almost 69% of individuals from these households experiencing one or more forms of deprivation (EU-SILC 2010).
Childcare is particularly expensive in Ireland and, coupled with a ‘low pay premium’ for part-time work, this plays a significant role in whether or not the financial benefits to paid work outweigh the costs for lone parents – the often referenced ‘welfare trap’. We have heard from parents who desperately want to return to work to improve the standard of living for their children and future outcomes, but who have been forced to turn down opportunities owing to a lack of affordable, accessible childcare.
Among One Family’s many services for lone parents and those sharing parenting, we support parents to be able to access work, including good quality part-time/flexible opportunities. Without good quality childcare many lone parents remain simply unable to take up employment opportunities.
Success in achieving such a childcare system would provide a significant boost to the economy. Parents who currently stay at home to care for their children would be able to work if they wished to do so. This would increase family incomes, improve living standards and reduce dependence on benefits, as well as lifting children out of poverty and improving their learning and development outcomes.
One Family reiterates its call to Government to enact its 10 Solutions campaign, with an immediate focus on childcare. All children deserve the best start in life.
For further information on One Family’s 10 Solutions, click here.
About One Family
One Family was founded in 1972 and is Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families and people sharing parenting offering support, information and services to all members of all one-parent families, to those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and to those 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 622 212, counselling, and provision of training courses for parents and for professionals. One Family also promotes the Family Day Festival, an annual celebration of the diversity of families in Ireland today (www.familyday.ie). For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie.
Available for Interview
Stuart Duffin, Director of Policy & Programmes | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 062 2023
Shirley Chance, Director of Communications | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 414 8511