One Family welcomes the new Minister for Social Protection Minister Éamon Ó Cuív T.D’s efforts to improve the economic situation and social wellbeing of people in one-parent families. However they remain gravely concerned as to the whether the reforms of the One-Parent Family Payment as recently announced will result in improved outcomes for lone parents and their children.
Candy Murphy, One Family Policy & Research Manager said “Given current and projected very high levels of unemployment which are putting extreme pressure on our education and training systems coupled with the serious inadequacies in our childcare system, especially after-school care, we believe that the proposed changes will mostly result in the movement of lone parents from one welfare support to another.”
Murphy continued “We see little evidence that the proposed changes will help move parents off social welfare and in particular into well paid work that will lift families out of poverty. A national survey of people on the One-Parent Family Payment conducted by One Family in conjunction with the Dept of Social & Family Affairs clearly showed that parents want to move off welfare but are hindered by structural barriers.
“We are also concerned that a sub-group identified through the research of older parents with poor health and low education levels need a high level of support to progress to good jobs, we don’t believe these reforms will be able to deliver on this.”
Key to any improved outcomes will be access to education and training and One Family has been working with a number of agencies to develop a specialist training programme that will support parents who are distant from the labour market to be able to progress. This New Futures programme has been positively evaluated and One Family is working to mainstream this proven programme throughout Ireland over the next year.
Karen Kiernan, Director of One Family said “we look forward to the opportunity to discuss our research, our specialist programmes and other support required with the Minister at his earliest convenience in order to ensure that the implementation of the new policy is informed by our day to day experience of working with parents and our in-depth knowledge of the real issues they face.”
For further information please contact: Hilary Fennell, Communications Manager, One Family 01 6629212, 087 2359515
One Family has been providing specialist family support services to people parenting alone and sharing parenting for 38 years. Services include parenting and skills training, counselling, parent mentoring and national information supports.