Press Release | Budget 2019: Positive step in the right direction but much more needs to be done on child maintenance and access to education.

One Family, Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting, and separating welcome the additional QCI increase of €5.20 for children over 12 which acknowledges the higher costs faced by lone parents with older children, many of whom were disproportionately impacted by the One-Parent Family Payment reforms. The next steps require significant and prolonged investment in key public services such as health, housing, education and childcare and a whole of government approach must be in place to achieve this.

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO, said:“We broadly welcome Budget 2019 which includes many targeted steps that will impact positively on children living in poverty. The child maintenance disregard for the Working Family Payment (WFP) is a particularly positive step towards the recognition of child maintenance as a separate and independent income for children. We encourage Government to apply these disregards to all state supports and payments to make sure children living in the poorest families can directly benefit. Government must also take the burden of seeking child maintenance away from the parent with care responsibilities and establish a standardised, State supported process for child maintenance.”

Ms Kiernan added, “The Budget also provided limited measures to support lone parents back to education with anomalies between Back to Education Allowance, housing supports and the SUSI maintenance grant remaining in place. This is a consistent and significant barrier to lone parents returning to education and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. Budget 2019 was a positive step in the right direction in reducing the disproportionate child poverty rates impacting on children in one-parent families but much more needs to be done on child maintenance, investment in key services and access to education.’

One Family’s Pre-Budget Submission 2019 included recommendations designed to support lone parents into education and/or employment, while acknowledging their parenting responsibilities. It can be read here.