Children & Family Relationships Bill Published Today is a Major Step to Recognising Family Diversity and Change in Ireland

Press Release

One Family Welcomes Children & Family Relationships Bill as a Major Step to Recognising Family Diversity and Change in Ireland:

but to work it requires investment

(Dublin, Thursday 25 September 2014) One Family – Ireland’s organisation for one-parent families and people sharing parenting – welcomes the publication of the Children & Family Relationships Bill 2014 by Minister Frances Fitzgerald today. As an organisation with 42 years of expertise in supporting diverse families in Ireland, One Family acknowledges that this Bill is groundbreaking in recognising the complexity of family arrangements that children live in today.

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO explains: “We are pleased that the Bill will provide the ability for people who live with and care for children such as step-parents, grandparents and foster-parents to seek guardianship, as well as wider family members to seek contact time. It assists in the somewhat stressful process for some unmarried fathers in becoming guardians of their children as more will become automatic guardians. We welcome the fact that many of One Family’s recommendations were listened to and that the important section on Making Parenting Orders Work has been expanded and clarified.”

“The elucidation of the importance of the concept of the ‘best interests of the child’ and the impact of violence in a family is extremely welcome as is the ability of the Court to request reports and expert testimony on the welfare of any child. However the major problem in One Family’s experience is that there is no court welfare system in Ireland and what exists currently is unregulated and expensive. Our work in the pilot Child Contact Centres with Barnardos resulted in comprehensive family and child assessments and this is what is required in many families where they are in dispute in court. Family law courts are currently making inappropriate decisions about children resulting in unsafe or unsuitable access and custody arrangements as they have no evidence on which to base their decisions.”

The Bill recognises the importance of measures to resolve family issues outside court including tools such as mediation, counselling, the development of an agreement and parenting programmes. Also welcome is the fact that no judge, barrister or solicitor should wear a wig or gown during family law proceedings.

Karen continues: “Of major concern to us in One Family is the fact that all costs relating to court process, mediation, counselling and parenting supports seems to be borne by the parents involved in family law matters. This is not realistic for many parents who are struggling to make ends meet and government needs to invest in ancillary family support services to court which will assist this Bill in being successful in the resolution of family law disputes outside court.”

The Press Release issued this afternoon by the Department of Justice can be read here.


About One Family

One Family was founded in 1972 as Cherish and is Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families 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 62 22 12, counselling, and provision of training courses for parents and for professionals. One Family also promotes Family Day and presents the Family Day Festival every May, an annual celebration of the diversity of families in Ireland today ( For further information, visit

Available for Interview

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

Further Information/Scheduling

Shirley Chance, Director of Communications | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 414 8511


Public Consultation on Improving Lives of Children

Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs will launch a public consultation on improving the lives of children and young people on Monday, 11th June 2012. Consultation forms can be completed on-line or in hard copy. The closing date for the consultation is Friday, 6th July 2012.

The consultation will inform the development of all key policies and strategies within the Department over the next five years.

Please see HSE website for more


Minister for Children & Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald TD launches One Family’s Links event

Minister Frances Fitzgerald launches the Family Communications Manual with Pat Bennett from the Family Support Agency and Karen Kiernan from One Family. Photo by Audrey Walshe

Minister Frances Fitzgerald TD today launched a brand new networking event for people who work in the areas of family and parenting supports for one-parent families.


The Links event, organised by One Family, Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families, was the first of its kind and provided the opportunity for people who work with one-parent families to promote their services and to swap information and experiences.


Speaking at the event, Minister Fitzgerald commented: ‘I am delighted to see the establishment of events such as this one, which encourage the exchange and sharing of expertise in this vital sector.’


Minister Fitzgerald went on to launch two publications for One Family – ‘Family Communications – Coping with Family Life and Communicating with Teenagers’, a comprehensive guide to effective family communication, and One Family’s unique iPad application entitled, ‘Parenting Well’.

Karen Kiernan, One Family Director, explained: ‘We wanted to create a type of services trade fair atmosphere – somewhere where people who support those parenting alone and sharing parenting could compare notes and exchange valuable information.’

As well as a wide range of information stands, taken by community and voluntary sector organisations, the well attended event featured a series of talks and key note speeches from Gordon Jeyes, HSE’s National Director of Children and Family Services and Dr John Sharry, parenting expert.



Networking event for people working with one-parenting families, 9 June, Dublin Castle – all welcome

Do you want to participate in a free networking day for people who work in the areas of family and parenting supports for one-parent families? Do you want to hear some great key-note speakers such as parenting expert John Sharry and Gordon Jeyes, HSE’s National Director of Children and Family Services? Then the One Family Links event is for you! It will be opened by Minister for Children & Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald TD at 10.30am on Thursday 9 June 2011 at the Coach House, Dublin Castle, and runs until 6pm. It’s free to attend and learn about best practice, what services are available locally and nationally – and how you can facilitate your professional development. You can come for the whole day or just drop in to hear the speakers that interest you. Read more