We have been all learning how to live in the new regime brought about by COVID-19. There is new information emerging every day and we are working to review this and bring you as much relevant information as possible. Please keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter accounts for regular updates.
Based on calls to our askonefamily helpline and feedback from parents through our services these are the issues we believe are the most important to you right now:
- One Family Services: We have moved all our services to phone and online support for existing service users so your regular service provider should have been in touch already or will be shortly. Our national askonefamily helpline (01-662 9212, 1890 662 212 and email firstname.lastname@example.org) is still operating and we are working to extend the hours available so we can support as many people as possible. We are still taking new referrals for services either through the helpline or perhaps from another professional you are working with. We will keep updating our website and social media accounts with any service changes. Click here for services available.
- Social welfare and income supports: We have been working with other organisations to ask the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to think about lone parents and to protect their incomes as much as possible. The Department listened in relation to lodging social welfare payments into banks, the continuation of the Working Family Payment, flexibility re Supplementary Welfare Allowance and Illness Benefit moving online. We are still talking with them about how parents who have stopped receiving child maintenance can have their full payment reinstated quickly and whether those on Job Seeker’s Transition payment can receive the COVID Pandemic Unemployment Payment. If there are other issues specific to people living in one-parent families that we have not yet asked about please remind us and we will do our best.
- How to manage access well: The area of access/contact visits during Covid-19 is of major concern to many parents and children out there and with each new set of guidelines new problems are emerging. We have updated our guidance on this and the Law Society and the Courts Service have also both issued statements on how to manage this. If you need to think this through with someone then get in touch with our askonefamily helpline (01-662 9212) or the Family Mediation Service.
- Getting in the shopping: We know that it has been disappointing to see children spoken about so negatively and even being barred from some retail outlets. Whilst this is upsetting for all families it is making life extremely difficult for many people parenting alone as they must bring their children everywhere with them in order to keep them safe. We are now capturing information about those shops that are facilitating children and sharing them on Twitter and we have asked for the slots that were allocated for older people to now be made available for families. From 30 March, all local authorities will have dedicated phonelines and email addresses that vulnerable people and those who are ‘cocooning’ can contact if they need help. Please click here to see numbers available so far and please contact your local authorities to see what local supports are available. We’ll keep this page updated as services become available.
- Preparing to get sick: One of the biggest worries many parents are facing right now is considering who will mind their children should they get sick. This is something lots of people are worried about and working on. We are working on a guide to help you to prepare for this situation and we will share it as soon as it’s ready. Along with other organisations we are calling on Tusla to be resourced to plan for this so the best interest of your child can be front and centre in whatever may happen. Again if you want to think this through with our staff on our askonefamily helpline then just get in touch and we will do our best to support you through whatever difficult decisions or conversations you may need to have.
- Putting children first: we have been working with colleagues on the Advisory Council on Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures to advise the Minister for Children & Youth Affairs as well as other government departments on what needs to happen during this crisis to protect and support children and young people. We are finding a huge willingness from policy makers to make the right decisions at this time of crisis and we will continue to work with them in the coming weeks as other issues come up for families. If your family are experiencing specific difficulties during this COVID crisis please let us know and we will do our best to put forward the issue and solutions to government.
- Education and Tech: We know that for many people it is practically impossible to keep up with school work or use the internet well without a computer and access to broadband. These things are expensive but essential when we are all asked to stay at home and communicate with each other and the world through online platforms. Along with colleagues in the Children’s Rights Alliance we are calling on the government, tech and communications companies to make sure children and young people can access the equipment and broadband they need to stay connected with the world. If you have ideas or you can help please let us know by e-mailing: email@example.com
- Parenting and Isolation: we all know parenting alone and sharing parenting can be challenging under normal circumstances, but right now many of you out there are experiencing very high levels of anxiety, practical difficulties and possibly a lower than usual level of patience! All our team are at the end of the phone to support you and we have extended our hours so we can provide more call backs at times that suit you. Please see button below for a list of services.
Finally we want to reassure you, while you may be social distancing you are not alone, we are here with you and this crisis will end.