Press Release: Tsumani of separations/divorce on the way with little or no support available

In 2020 there was a 20% increase in demand for One Family’s services for lone parent and separating families including 17% increase in demand for Parenting during Separation courses


Press Release

Ireland is facing a tsunami of separation and divorce following the pandemic and family law and support services are not prepared according to One Family – Ireland’s national organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting and separating. The charity, commenting at the launch of its Annual Review for 2020, said demand for its specialised family support services dramatically increased in 2020 with a 20% rise in client services and a 17% increase in demand for its parenting during separation courses.

One Family CEO, Karen Kiernan said, “For many separated families the pandemic and lockdowns acted as a pressure cooker exasperating old grievances and increasing conflict. There was a huge increase in calls from parents in distress (68% increase in calls to the askonefamily helpline in Q2 2020 compared with the same period in 2019) as issues of relationship breakdown, access, guardianship and child maintenance coincided with reduced access to courts services; leading to increased conflict and mental distress. We worked to support parents and we provided information guides, advocated on behalf of parents, and brought all our services on-line affectively bringing our services to every county. But this demand for services, particularly our mediation and Tusla funded Separating Well for Children service, has meant services are now extremely stressed and we are worried about a future surge as families struggle with family breakdown.”

Geraldine Kelly, One Family Director of Parenting Services said, “What we found is that support services are there in local communities if you have a parenting issue or if you are separating amicably but if there is conflict, or legal issues, which is often the case, specialist services are very hard to find.  Currently, we are receiving calls from support services across the country looking to refer families to us and we are trying to accommodate them. But we have limited resources and demand is so high. This leaves many families in crisis waiting longer than we would like. At the moment, we have with a six-month waiting list for Separating Well for Children and eighteen-month wait for counselling services; when your family is in crisis this is a long-time. Any delay can increase the level of conflict in the family and impact greatly on the wellbeing of children and parents.”

One Family CEO, Karen Kiernan said, “We need to see a commitment from Government to provide funding in local communities for separating families, people sharing parenting and particularly for those in conflict. There is a tsunami approaching which will have a knock-on effect on children and families unless we prepare now.”




For Editors:

One Family was founded in 1972 as Cherish and is Ireland’s national organisation for one-parent families and people sharing parenting or separating, 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 0818 66 22 12, counselling, and provision of training courses for parents and for professionals. For further information, visit The askonefamily helpline can be contacted on 0818 66 22 12 or 01-6629212.

Link to One Family Annual Review:

Two case studies of how One Family supported families during the pandemic:

For further information visit:

Available for Interview

Karen Kiernan, CEO | t: 086 850 9191

Further Information/Scheduling

Noel Sweeney, Communications and Events Manager | t: 085 7241294