Press Release | On Universal Children’s Day we ask: What is being done to lift Ireland’s poorest children out of poverty?

Press Release

On Universal Children’s Day we ask:

What is being done to lift Ireland’s poorest children out of poverty?

(Dublin, Friday 18 November 2016) One Family – Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting, and separating – celebrates UN Universal Children’s Day this Sunday, 20 of November 2016, while voicing concern on the inequality that exists in Irish society for the thousands of children living in those one-parent families which suffer the highest rates of deprivation in Ireland today. On Universal Children’s Day we must, as a society, speak for them, acknowledge them, and act for them.

One in nine (11%) children live in consistent poverty in Ireland (SILC 2014). This can mean going 24 hours without a substantial meal or being cold because parents are unable to afford to heat the home. Children living in one-parent family households are almost twice as likely to live in poverty than other children, with 23% of children in a one-parent family experiencing deprivation. Two thirds of homeless families living in emergency accommodation are one-parent families, at any time.

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO, states: “While Universal Children’s Day is a wonderful celebration of the joy of childhood and the resilience of children, it is also a day to reflect on the inequalities children in Ireland face every day, not as a result of their family form, but as a result of the systemic barriers facing their parents. These are people parenting alone who are consistently thwarted in their attempts to create more positive futures for their families in their efforts to enter education or the workplace. We know, and research shows, that it is the education level of parents and living in consistent poverty that most impact a child’s future.”

Karen continues: “Recent ESRI research, ‘Cherish all the Children Equally?’, confirmed that children living in one-parent families are more likely to fare poorly directly as a result of living in consistent poverty. To be clear, growing up in a lone parent family structure does not create a source of inequality in a child’s life; the inequality comes from inequitable systems and attitudes towards lone parents. But is enough being done to lift Ireland’s poorest children out of poverty? No. We have yet to see a cohesive attempt to break down the barriers that one-parent families in receipt of social welfare payments still face, and nothing to acknowledge those who share parenting.”

One Family will continue to speak out on behalf of the one in five children who live in one-parent families today, and their parents. In addition to providing services and supports, and advocating on behalf of one-parent families, One Family promotes societal acknowledgment of the positivity of family diversity with its annual Family Day celebration every May. Its askonefamily helpline can be contacted on 1890 66 22 12 or 01 662 9212.


Notes for Editors:

About One Family

One Family was founded in 1972 as Cherish and is Ireland’s leading 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 1890 66 22 12, counselling, and provision of training courses for parents and for professionals. One Family also promotes Family Day every May in celebration of the diversity of families in Ireland today ( For further information, visit

Available for Interview

Karen Kiernan, CEO, One Family | t: 086 850 9191

For further Information, please contact:

Shirley Chance, Director of Communications | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 414 8511
Jane Farrell, Communications & Marketing Officer | t: 01 662 9096 or 087 623 0166