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Press Release | One Family Demands Reform of the One-Parent Family Payment Stops Immediately

One Family demands Reform of the One-Parent Family Payment stops immediately before more poor children are harmed

(Dublin, Tuesday 9 June 2015) One Family – Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting and separating demands an immediate stop, review and reversal of this current reform.

Stuart Duffin, One Family, Director of Policy and Programmes, comments: “The current reform of the One Parent Family Payment (OFP) is failing our families. This means that Ireland’s most vulnerable parents and children will experience even greater poverty.

This reform is being phased in with the stated aim of enabling lone parents in receipt of the OFP to move from social welfare into education and employment.”

“To date almost 15,000 parents have been moved from OFP when their youngest child reached the age of at least 7 years old; with almost another 30,000 parents scheduled to be transitioned to other payments – primarily the newly introduced Job Seeker’s Transitional Allowance (JSTA) or Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) – in July 2015. Currently, 65,000 people are in receipt of the One Parent Family Payment. However, those who are being hit hardest are those already in part-time employment and many are being forced to give up their jobs. It is incomprehensible how a system of reform purported to enable people parenting alone to return to employment or education is most adversely affecting those who are already in the process of doing so.”

 Stuart further comments: “CSO figures released in January 2015 reveal the shocking extent of child poverty in Ireland. The number of children living in consistent poverty – meaning they are living both at risk of poverty and experiencing deprivation – has risen to nearly 12 per cent and clearly shows that those living in households with one adult and one or more children had the highest deprivation rate in 2013 at 63.2% and the highest consistent poverty rate at 23%. This is shameful. It reduces children’s life chances.

Government needs to admit that its current policies and new reform measures where lone parents are being moved from the One-Parent Family Payment to Job Seekers payments are just not working. Current policies mean that the barriers to lone parents returning to employment or education are leading to an increasing dependence on social welfare over time. Government must to listen and act, as its choices condemn one-parent families and their children to persistent poverty.

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For further information about our in depth analysis http://www.onefamily.ie/policy-campaigns/one-family-campaigns/one-parent-family-payment-reform-child-poverty/; http://www.onefamily.ie/media-publications/one-family-stories-case-studies/ and our solution focused recommendations.

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.

Available for Interview:

Stuart Duffin, Director Policy and Programmes | t: 01 662 9212 or 0870622023

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.