Press Release | Clear Message for Minister Varadkar and Budget 2017 – New NUIG report into what works for lone parents

 Press Release

Clear Message for Minister Varadkar and Budget 2017 –

How to Support Lone Parents Out of Poverty and into Employment.

New NUIG report into what works for lone parents and activation backs up what One Family has been saying for years.

(Dublin, Thursday 29 September 2016) One Family – Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting, and separating – today calls on Minister Varadkar to implement the recommendations outlined in research commissioned by his report to support lone parents into employment. This long-awaited important research, to which One Family contributed several years ago, was released this week by NUIG on their website. Lone Parents and Activation, What Works and Why: A Review of the International Evidence in the Irish Context, commissioned by the Department of Social Protection, co-authored by Dr Michelle Millar and Dr Rosemary Crosse of the UNESCO Child & Family Research Centre in NUI Galway, is key to understanding what steps Government must take to create real opportunity for lone parents currently in receipt of welfare payments who wish to work and/or return to education to do so.

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO, states, “The failure of the reform of the One-Parent Family Payment, now clearly evident, means that Government must address its errors in practical and realistic measures to support lone parents in Budget 2017. In a week which has seen Minister Varadkar deny the reality of tens of thousands of poor families whose incomes have been cut in recent years, a media focus on the failure of Ireland’s childcare system, and much discussion in the lead-up to Budget 2017, a report into what lone parents need to support them into employment is finally released. It should have prefaced all of these policy changes. The report was delayed, has received little dissemination, and apparently no commentary or response by the Department. Again we, and society, must ask why lone parents and children are those who are consistently punished unfairly?”

Valerie Maher, One Family Policy & Programmes Manager comments, “This Government needs to take an unblinkered look at the myriad of evidence from real parents with real children across Ireland. Although it was commissioned several years too late – following a series of cuts across successive budgets to one-parent families, and activation measures which seemed only to try to force lone parents into non-existing employment using non-existent childcare – its findings are essential to create polices that work. Existing ‘reform’ measures were enacted to save money and without the necessary supports in place. In other EU jurisdictions, for example Britain, this kind of research was conducted before reforms were made, childcare provision is far higher, Job Centre staff was trained by Gingerbread to work more effectively with lone parents and Government invested in training programmes for parents.”

In order for Minister Vardakar to fulfil his personal commitment to lift 100,000 children out of poverty by 2020, he must now take action based on this research. Budget 2017 must urgently address child poverty, and invest in services and targeted income supports so that one-parent families can create the futures their children deserve.

Lone Parents and Activation, What Works and Why: A Review of the International Evidence in the Irish Context,

can be read/downloaded at:

One Family’s Pre-Budget Submission 2017 can be downloaded at


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 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

Valerie Maher, Policy & Programmes Manager, One Family

Karen Kiernan, CEO, One Family