One Family welcomes research which indicates that focusing on family type as a predictor for child well-being is irrelevant

One Family today welcomes research from UCD analysing 9 year olds in the Growing Up in Ireland data which strongly indicates that focusing on family type as a predictor for child well-being is irrelevant.

One Family Director Karen Kiernan welcomed the report saying: “This research confirms what we have seen for 40 years in One Family; that lone parents are doing the very best they can in difficult circumstances to raise their children well. We have always found the argument about married families being better to be ridiculous, especially given that so many one-parent families are created through the dissolution of marriage, but this is a clear message to policy makers that education of mothers is important for the well-being of their children.”

Kiernan continued: “The research indicates that never-married lone mothers have far fewer children than average, are more likely to have their child at a young age and to have lower education levels and this is the most vulnerable family form in Ireland at the moment. This type of parent is also less likely to form a second union during the child’s younger life.”

The extent and nature of shared parenting between parents who do not live together was also looked at in the research and moderately high levels of contact between children and their non-resident parent were found. Karen Kiernan commented on this: “One Family has been working to promote positive and constructive shared parenting in one-parent families for many years and we are pleased to finally see some statistics on the extent of this in Ireland. Whilst shared parenting is not the majority practice, daily or weekly contact between children and their non-resident parent is very common and this is good news.”

Quotes from the study press release:

“It shows that family type is not the over-riding influence on the well-being of a child,” said lead author Dr Tony Fahey, of the UCD School of Applied Social Science.

“Our findings show only a slight, or, in many cases, a complete absence of differences in the indicators of child well-being between children of two-parent married families, co-habiting families, step-families, and one-parent families.”

“The single most important mechanism that public policy can use to combat family problems is to tackle educational disadvantage.”

Full research report here.

For more information, contact:

Karen Kiernan, Director, One Family 01 662 9212 or 086 850 9191.