Support lone parents to support themselves – make award winning training programme available nationally

Dublin based training programme records 85% success rate in supporting lone parents to education and employment

[Dublin, 26 June 2019] Karen Kiernan, CEO of One Family – Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting and separating has called on the Government to make the award-winning New Futures training programme available nationally. The European Social Fund (ESF) funded programme recorded an 85% success rate in 2018 and is currently only available in Dublin.  Ms Kiernan was speaking at a graduation ceremony for parents of the New Futures and New Steps programmes at the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission offices in Dublin.

Ms Kiernan said, “The success of our programmes shows how targeted supports, such as these specialist training programmes, can support parents on social welfare out of poverty and back to education or employment. These parents are full of potential, hugely resilient, adaptable and committed; they are looking for support so they can support themselves and their families and this training should be available nationally, not just in Dublin.”

Ms Kiernan added, “The European Social Fund (ESF) have funded New Futures and New Steps for three years and we are extremely grateful for their support. But despite its success, the long-term future of the programme remains uncertain.We are calling on the Government and the Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection to provide mainstream funding for these programmes so parents around Ireland can benefit. In 2018, 85% of graduates who completed New Futures went on to further education or employment. We must support parents so that they can support themselves out of poverty.”

New Futures graduate from 2018 and lone parent of four children, Louise Finnegan, said, “The programme has been hugely beneficial to me. I was supported and challenged to be the best person I could be. But it’s more than that, you feel part of a community and whatever challenges you face there is somebody there to lend a hand. Through the programme I’ve had the opportunity to travel to Luxembourg to speak at a conference and I returned to education last September. One of the best things about the course is that my children see me challenging myself, doing assignments and being confident and that helps their confidence and self-belief.”

Ms Kiernan added, “We are asking the Government and the Department to invest in targeted, measurable supports that make a tangible difference to parents’ lives. Government have all the evidence from their own reports including the Joint Oireachtas Committee for Social Protection Report on the Position of Lone Parents in Ireland – they know one-parent families are some of the poorest families in Ireland and they know what is required to address it. We are asking them to take a first step and fund a programme that is proven to work and to make it available in every county in Ireland.”


Notes to editor:

About One Family One Family was founded in 1972 as Cherish and is Ireland’s organisation for one-parent families and people sharing parenting, or separating.

One Family programmes:

  • New Futures is One Family’s flagship 24 week personal and professional. development, specialist bridging programme, accredited at QQI level 4.  New Futures won the Special Recognition Award for an ESF Initiative at the Aontas Star Awards in 2019 for making an outstanding contribution to adult learning.
  • New Steps is an eight week parenting support and self-development programme.
  • 80 lone parents are engaged on the current New Futures project.

All One Family’s programmes are specifically designed for those parenting alone or sharing parenting and incorporate 1:1 and wrap around family support services.

Statistics on one-parent families:

  • There were 218,817 family units with children (of any age) headed by a lone parent (Census 2016).
  • 1 in 4 families with children in Ireland is a one-parent family (Census 2016).
  • 1 in 5 people in Ireland live in a one-parent family (Census 2016).
  • 356,203 children lived in one-parent families, representing more than one in five or 21.2% of all children in family units (Census 2016).
  • In November 2018, 14,349 One-Parent Family Payment recipients (39 per cent of all recipients) are in employment, and of 14,418 Jobseeker’s Transition recipients, 4,037 recipients work. The Working Family Payment is an important support for working parents; almost half of recipients are households headed by a lone parent.
  • The Survey on Income and Living Conditions 2017 (SILC) revealed that one-parent family households experience the most deprivation in Ireland. Almost 45% of lone parent households experience more than one form of deprivation.
  • Children living in one-parent families had the highest consistent poverty rate at 20%. This is compared to a consistent poverty rate of 3.9% for two-parent households. This means that lone parents are five times as likely to be living in consistent poverty compared to two-parent households.
  • One-parent families continue to have the lowest disposable income of all households with children in the state (SILC 2017).
  • 60% of homeless families living in emergency accommodation are one-parent families, at any time.

For further information visit:

Available for Interview

Karen Kiernan, CEO | t: 01 662 9212 or 086 850 9191

Valerie Maher, Programmes Manager

Further Information/Scheduling

Noel Sweeney, Communications and Events Manager | t: 01 622 9212 or 085 7241294

The New Futures project is part supported by the Irish Government and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning (PEIL) 2014-2020