One-parent family organisation One Family (formerly Cherish) today welcomed moves by Minister Brennan and his department to address the key issues of poverty and social welfare dependency among one-parent families. Yet, One Family cautioned that the reforms proposed will require real, long-term commitment from the State if they are to seriously addresses the realities facing many of Ireland’s poorest and most disadvantaged families.
One Family believes that the success of the proposed reforms will depend on the supports available to allow parents move on to work that can support their families – including adequate, flexible and affordable childcare, after school care, and training and skills-based education opportunities.
‘The reality is that 60 per cent of those on the One Parent Family Payment are already working, but are trapped in low-skilled, low-paid, part-time employment’ comments Karen Kiernan, One Family Director. ‘With nearly 50 per cent of those on the payment having below Leaving Certificate qualifications, any proposed changes must provide real opportunities for parents to take up skills-based education and training, including providing quality childcare, that will lead on to well-paid employment’ she concluded.
One Family believes that given the current lack of supports available, the proposed changes should be phased in over ten years rather than five, allowing enough time for such supports to be built up and different models to be piloted in cooperation with experts in the field. Detailed profiling will also be crucial to identifying the specific needs of subgroups of one-parent families who may be particularly vulnerable.
With 50 per cent of those on the current payment having children under the age of 8, One Family would question whether the proposed changes, which do not include any initiative for families with children under 7, can realistically achieve their aim of lifting families out of poverty.
Commenting on the proposed reforms, One Family Policy Manager Candy Murphy said ‘the State must ensure that no family is financially worse off after moving off the payment; that families are not penalised if a lack of childcare and other necessary supports prevents parents from increasing their working hours or taking up work; and that families do not get less financial support if state training and education services are unavailable to allow them to improve their earning potential.
Finally, Candy Murphy said that ‘we must also ask ourselves if we want to move to a position where the option of parenting children over the age of eight at home is denied to many families.’
One Family is currently carrying out a consultation process with our members and other NGOs and we will be producing a detailed submission to the DSFA by the end of May. The submission will be publicly available on our website: www.onefamily.ie
For further information contact:
Ruth Coleman 01 662 9212/086 174 2315 or Karen Kiernan on 01 662 9212/086 8509191
NOTES TO EDITORS:
* 60 per cent of recipients of the One Parent Family Payment were in employment, more than half of whom were earning less than €150 per week.
* 47 per cent of those on the payment have below Leaving Certificate qualifications.
* 50 per cent of those on the payment have children under 8 years of age.
* 60 per cent of those on the payment have only one child.