Get It Right for One-Parent Families
One Family Presents to Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Social Protection on Impacts of One-Parent Family Payment Changes
– Policy Changes will lead to Increased Poverty
(Dublin, Wednesday 18 February 2015) One Family – Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting and separating – today calls on the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Social Protection to petition the Táiniste and the Department of Social Protection to Get it Right (#GetItRightDSP) for one-parent families.
One Family is invited to present to the Committee today and will stress the reality of the impacts of changes to the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) which will hit one-parent families this year. Almost 39,000 OFP recipients are being moved to the Job Seekers Transition Allowance (JST)on 2 July.
Stuart Duffin, Director of Policy & Programmes, explains: “This is a result of the decision announced in Budget 2012 to restrict eligibility for the OFP to people parenting alone whose youngest child is aged seven or under. However, the supports that should accompany this policy implementation to ensure its success– particuarly the promised accessible, affordable, quality childcare – have not been delivered, while one-parent families continue to suffer the highest rates of poverty and deprivation of any family type in Ireland.”
Stuart continues: “Over 29% of one-parent families are at risk of poverty and 63% of all one-parent households experience deprivation; this is despite the fact that 53% of lone parents are currently in the labour market. We are hearing from many of these working lone parents, who already finely balance household budgets on a knife-edge, that it will no longer be feasible for them to remain in their part-time jobs. These changes will lead to even greater and deeper poverty for one-parent families.”
One Family calls for an integrated and SMART action plan to help ease confusion and stress for those parents who will be moved from OFP to JST in July, and for the creation of a simple customer charter by the Department of Social Protection where claimants are given clear, sensible and correct information. The Department needs to take responsibility for the impact its policies will have on families who are in need of service from it and other Departments as these changes take effect.
Stuart further comments, “It is absolutely clear that there is growing inequality in Ireland, that tackling it must be a national priority and that fixing the administration of social welfare and its support services will remove a key trigger for deeper deprivation for those parenting alone. Also, it is clear that no child or parent should be going hungry in Ireland today. Low pay, rising housing and energy costs are key drivers of family poverty, but the missing piece of the puzzle is that for many lone parents ‘work does not pay’ leaving families increasingly exposed to poverty of opportunity. Ireland needs a whole of public service response not a siloed service that leaves families struggling and parents demotivated.”
Lone parents want to work and they want to create the best possible outcomes for their children. With the right policies, the right time-frame, and the right level of political will, choices can be made to enable those thousands of one-parent families suffering deprivation to grow out of poverty and achieve better futures.
About One Family
One Family was founded in 1972 as Cherish and is Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families offering support, information and services to all members of all one-parent families, to those sharing parenting, to those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and to professionals 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 62 22 12, counselling, and provision of training courses for parents and for professionals. One Family also promotes Family Day and presents the Family Day Festival every May, 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