Lone Parents & Work:
One Family report highlights need to tackle personal barriers faced by lone Parents

Martin Cullen T.D., Minister for Social and Family Affairs, launched One Family’s Strategy 2007-2009 and New Future Project Report on 8 April 2008. One Family’s New Futures Project is an integrated model of support for lone parents, dealing particularly with the personal barriers that exist for lone parents in progressing from welfare dependency to employment.
Karen Kiernan, Director, One Family: “Lone parents often face a number of hidden barriers when moving from social welfare to education or employment. In addition to external barriers such as lack of childcare and reductions in essential benefits such as rent supplement, many lone parents experience a lack of confidence and belief in their abilities which makes going into the labour market a daunting task.”
Funded by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform as part of the Equality for Women Measure, One Family’s New Futures project succeeded in helping the lone parents involved to build their confidence and self-esteem. It also gave them hope; many parents indicated that after the programme they had greater clarity on how to really achieve their aims and ambitions and a greater belief in their ability to build a positive future for themselves and their family. Ms. Kiernan notes: “What really emerged from the pilot programmes was the extreme importance of dealing with the breadth of barriers that lone parents face in moving from welfare to work. The parents felt that they were better able to engage with skills training once they had overcome personal challenges. We believe that if Government’s activation plans are to really succeed, all of the challenges facing lone parents will need to be addressed, including ensuring that staff in the relevant state services are fully aware of the complexity and diversity of needs of lone parent clients.”
One Family will continue to develop the New Futures programme under its Strategy 2007- 2009. The Strategy also governs the expansion of One Family’s comprehensive services for one-parent families. Karen Kiernan stated: “Under our Strategy 2007-2009, we will continue to develop our wrap-around service model, providing a one-stop shop for lone parents, supporting them in both their personal and professional development as well as harnessing this learning to achieve real and effective changes in government policies that affect the lives of one-parent families.”
For further information please contact
Catherine Joyce, Communications Manager 01 664 0125/ 086 343 2542
Karen Kiernan, Director, 01 662 9212/ 086 8509191