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Press Release | Budget 2018: Much More Needed to Lift One-Parent Families out of Government-created Poverty

Press Release

Budget 2018: Much More Needed to Lift One-Parent Families out of Government-created Poverty

Indecon Report: Government saves €45m net but parents and children are poorer despite working

(Dublin, Tuesday 10 October 2017) One Family, Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting, and separating, acknowledges the announcement of the partial Income Disregard restoration – following previous budget cuts –  from €110 to €130 per week for One Parent Family Payment (OFP) and Jobseeker’s Transition Payment (JST) recipients, the €5 weekly social welfare payment increase, and the household income threshold for FIS increase by €10 for families of up to three children, along with new housing initiatives. However, it is not enough to lift lone parents and their children out of the consistent poverty and deprivation that resulted from previous reform of the One-Parent Family Payment, and to support them in overcoming systemic barriers in accessing education and employment.

Yesterday the Department of Employment & Social Affairs released the Indecon Independent Review of the Amendments to the One-parent Family Payment since January 2012 which should have formed the basis of changes in Budget 2018 for social-welfare dependent one-parent families. Increases should have been targeted and strategic to reach the poorest children and families across the board, following the evidence and Government commitments to lift 100,000 children out of poverty.

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO, states: “The Indecon Report is absolutely shocking – more parents are off welfare and working saving the state €45m net but more are living in poverty. There is so much work to be done to ensure that the appropriate services are in place to support people parenting alone into sustainable employment but we did not see that today. Of course, the increase to the Income Disregard is to be welcomed and will help some families.  And of course, it is heartening that Government listened to us and the families we work with on this issue. But we must also ask: why have Ministers not taken action on our other recommendations? Following years of ill-advised cuts and reform that targeted lone parents, this must happen now if the poverty experienced by one-parent families in receipt of social welfare payments is to be reversed.

“What lone parents want is a fair chance, and just like all members of our society, they should have one. Lone parents want to work and to learn; they want to have the opportunity to build brighter futures for their families. But the evidence shows that one-parent families are among those who have borne the brunt of years of austerity, that they still experience proportionally higher levels of poverty than any other members of our society today, and that the systemic barriers to employment and education are still not coming down. The recommendations contained in our Pre-Budget Submission, if implemented, will help to create those fair chances.”

Valerie Maher, One Family Policy & Programmes Manager, comments: “Today’s Budget goes a small way towards supporting lone parents and their children, but so much more is needed. It is alarming to see in the Indecon report that even those working full-time following removal from social welfare are living at risk of poverty and in daily deprivation. The Government must also be concerned about these families and not only those on social welfare.

“Currently we see parents in precarious, low paid employment and this is not a victory for Government policy, or a signpost to continue unchanged in this direction, as more children in more one-parent families are living in consistent poverty.”

One Family’s Pre-Budget Submission 2018 included recommendations designed to support lone parents into education and/or employment, while acknowledging their parenting responsibilities. It can be read here.

NOTES FOR EDITORS

  • One Family’s Pre-Budget Submission 2018 can be read here.
  • Our response to the Indecon Report is here.
  • Indecon Independent Review of the Amendments to the One-parent Family Payment since January 2012 is here.
  • 1 in 4 families with children in Ireland is a one-parent family (Census 2016)
  • 356,203 children lived in one parent families, representing more than one in five or 21.2% of all children in family units (Census 2016)
  • The average one parent family is has 1.63 children compared to an average of 1.95 for the population overall (Census 2016)
  • Of the approximately 56,000 lone parents in receipt of One Parent Family Payment (OFP) or Job Seekers Transition Payment (JST), 34,700 are not engaged in employment and so remain below the income poverty threshold (Dept. of Social Protection, January 2017)
  • There are more than 14,000 One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) recipients in employment, and of 14,500 JST recipients, 5,000 recipients work. Family Income Supplement is also an important support for working parents with approximately 27,000 lone parents in receipt of the payment (Dept. of Social Protection, January 2017)
  • Those living in households with one adult and one or more children aged under 18 had the highest deprivation rate in 2015 at 57.9% (Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) 2015)
  • 58% (almost three in five) of lone parent households with one or more children experienced enforced deprivation. This compares to 25% of the general population who experienced deprivation (SILC 2015)
  • People in lone parent households continue to have the lowest disposable income out of all households with children in the State (SILC 2015)
  • Individuals living in households where there was one adult and one or more children aged under 18 had the highest consistent poverty rate at 26.2%, an increase from 25% in 2014. This is compared to a consistent poverty rate of 7.7% for two-parent households (SILC 2015)
  • For further facts and figures, visit onefamily.ie.

/Ends.

About One Family

One Family, founded in 1972 as Cherish, celebrates 45 years of supporting one-parent families in Ireland in 2017. It 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 662212, 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 (www.familyday.ie). For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie.

Available for Interview:

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

Valerie Maher, One Family Policy & Programmes Manager | t: 086 084 6826

Further Information or to arrange an interview:

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

Statement | Response to Indecon Report on One Parent Family Payment Reform

One Family Response to the Report ‘Indecon Independent Review of the Amendments to the One-parent Family Payment since January 2012’

A long-awaited report, prepared by Indecon Research Economists on behalf of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, was released late this afternoon. It is regrettable this this important report has been made available on the evening before Budget 2018 is scheduled to be announced, as it warrants attention that it may not now receive.

Our initial analysis of the 141-page report highlights that:

  • While the Exchequer saves €45m net, lone parents and their children are poorer as a result of the recent reform of the One Parent Family Payment (OFP).
  • It is an in-depth report yet no recommendations and only short conclusions are offered.
  • Can any report guarantee accuracy if some of the survey questions from which the data is drawn provided only positive response options?
  • Where is the recognition of the parenting responsibilities of lone parents? One Family is shocked that childcare appears to be mentioned only twice.
  • Where too is the recognition of the impacts of the fear, stress, and uncertainty placed on lone parents and their children as a result of this reform; and the lack of clarity in its communication and implementation? 43% of parents reported that their family wellbeing decreased due to the reform and 40% said their children’s wellbeing decreased.
  • There is no indication that the marginal increases in employment will have any longevity given the precarious and low paid nature of these employments, and 53% of survey respondents stated that the OFP reforms resulted in being financially worse off. Only 20% noted an improvement.
  • 63% of the respondents in full-time employment stated that they cannot afford 3+ items on the deprivation list, meaning that they are most definitely experiencing deprivation daily, and in-work poverty.
  • There is no acknowledgment that lone parents in education and in receipt of OFP or Job Seekers Transition Payment (JST) and rent support cannot avail of the SUSI maintenance grant.

The report acknowledges that “a potential concern is that many of those who lost OFP remain unemployed or in low paid or part-time employment” and that “a key challenge for policymakers is to assist lone parents to become more integrated into the Irish labour market.”

One Family’s Pre-Budget Submission includes recommendations that would enable Government to achieve this. The failure of the reform of the OFP means that it is essential that Minister Doherty engage with these recommendations.

They include:

  • Full restoration of the Income Disregard.
  • Allow BTEA and SUSI maintenance to be payable together, targeting those most distant from the labour market.
  • Increased CDAQCI for older children and poorer families.
  • Target employability supports for lone parents.
  • It is also essential that, as we have consistently called for, the Department’s Case Officers receive training to support lone parents appropriately and in recognition of their lived realities.

One Family’s Pre-Budget Submission can be read here.

The Indecon report can be read here.

Press Release | Government Must Use the Evidence: New Report Confirms Increased One-Parent Family Poverty

Press Release

Government Must Use the Evidence –

Another New Report Confirms Increased Poverty in One-Parent Families  

(Dublin, Monday 2 October 2017) One Family – Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone and sharing parenting – responds to the news that a report by Indecon Economic Consultants commissioned by Government to examine the impact of austerity measures on one-parent families confirms what One Family has been saying for years; lone parents and their children who are reliant on social welfare are suffering more since Governmental reform and cuts of the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) introduced in Budget 2012.

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO, explains: “Media coverage of the forthcoming research confirms what One Family has been saying for the past five years – the cuts since Budget 2012 were counter-productive, have led to increased child poverty in one-parent families, and must be fully reversed. Government needs to face the facts and respond effectively in this year’s Budget.

“The evidence is piling up showing that lone parents and their children have been damaged by the Budget 2012 cuts including the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection report in June on The Position of Lone Parents in Ireland; Maynooth University’s research on the barriers to education for lone parents published in August; and 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 and conducted by Dr Michelle Millar and Dr Rosemary Crosse of the UNESCO Child & Family Research Centre in NUI Galway, published last September. Each of these reports provides a clear pathway of what is needed.”

The new Indecon report is based on a national survey of 34,000 one-parent families which began in April and is focussed on “the financial, social, poverty, and welfare dependency impacts” caused by cuts and reforms. It was specifically tasked with providing an overview of the impact of these changes to the One-Parent Family Payment and associated social welfare cuts.

Karen continues: “It is not acceptable to ignore vulnerable children and families. Politicians must do their job and follow the evidence. The Government has committed to lifting 100,000 children out of poverty and must use the resources available to them to achieve this. Most poor children live in one-parent families and their childhoods have been hit hard by cuts in recent years. Now there is an opportunity to invest appropriately and to ensure that lone parents can afford to work, can afford to access education, and can afford to feed their families.”

Valerie Maher, One Family Policy & Programmes Manager, states: “There is an extensive submission by leading Irish NGOs in association with Better Outcomes Brighter Futures – the National Strategy for Children and Young People outlining how the Government can reach its target of reducing child poverty rates in Ireland. As detailed in our Pre-Budget Submission for 2018, this is where the focus needs to be ensuring that work pays for lone parents on social welfare by reinstating the income disregard; ensuring that they can access education irrespective of their housing tenure; and focussing payments on the most vulnerable children and young people. The future for these children depends on what actions Government takes now.”

Notes and Links for Editors

/Ends.

About One Family One Family was founded in 1972 as Cherish and celebrates its 45th year in 2017 when the organisation will also relocate to Smithfield, Dublin 7. It 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 662212, counselling, and provision of training courses for parents and for professionals. One Family also promotes Family Day every May, an annual celebration of the diversity of families in Ireland today (www.familyday.ie).

For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie.

Available for Interview

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

Valerie Maher, Policy & Programmes Manager | t: 01 662 9212 or 086 084 6826

Further Information/Scheduling

Shirley Chance, Director of Communications | t: 01 622 9212 or 087 414 8511

Training | Call for Working Lone Parents

Are you a lone parent who has recently returned to work? Could you help One Family to pilot our new online programme on work-life balance for working lone parents this October and November?

We are looking for:
• Lone parents who are currently in work;
• With reliable internet access via a computer or smart phone, and;
• Availability to take part during October-November 2017.

Modules included in this brand new free online course for lone parents who have just re-entered the workforce:
1. Communicate more effectively with your employer; learn to ask your employer the right questions to get what you need.
2. Your rights and responsibilities; Find all the most relevant and up to date resources on your rights as an employee and as a parent.
3. In-work supports; Find out what supports you are eligible for as a working lone parent, and what kinds of supports you can achieve within your work environment.
4. Your go-to guide to childcare; Find the best option for you, and stay up to date on government childcare schemes.
5. Balancing finances as a working parent; Access useful online resources like a money guide and budget calculator.

By taking part in this pilot, you can develop a better understanding of how to achieve your own work-life balance and you will be contributing to making this course better for parents in the future. By giving your feedback, you will have a say in what topics you think should be covered in a course like this – for both employees and employers. Your input will influence how future courses are developed, and your views will be used to help inform and educate all types of employers on how to better meet the needs of lone parent employees. There is no fee for this course.

If you are interested in taking part, please call us at 01 662 9212 and ask for Neda, or email info@onefamily.ie.

Training | Autumn Courses for Parents and Professionals Booking Now

One Family offers an exciting suite of training programmes for people who are parenting alone, or sharing parenting after separation, including a number of free courses; and also programmes for professionals who work with parents, children and families.

Whether returning to education or employment, building on skills to strengthen family life, or continuing professional development, Autumn is the perfect time of year to start working towards something that can bring rewards now and in the new year to come.

Our courses incorporate 45 years of experience in supporting parents. Your perfect training opportunity may be just a click away. Read on to find out more.

For Parents: Family Life

Being equipped with resilience and skills to deal with the range of issues that may arise in day-to-day family life, and in times of change, is important for all parents. Booking is open now for our Autumn courses for parents.

Family Communications: Coping with Family Life and Communication with Teenagers This course is valuable for parents of children of all ages but particularly those with teens. It teaches clear communication skills to strengthen family life including assertive parenting, and conflict reducing communication.
Starts: 3rd October 2017
Duration: 10am-12pm one morning per week for 8 weeks
Location: Rialto, Dublin 8
Cost: €40 unwaged / €60 waged

Self-care and Personal Growth When Parenting Alone Parenting alone means carrying all of the responsibility, all of the time. It can be easy to forget to look after ourselves too. This course supports lone parents to explore their self-worth and confidence through learning about the most important relationship of all: the relationship we have with ourselves.  The overall aim is to support parents to take time for self-care so that they can be there for their children.
Starts: 3rd October 2017
Duration: 10am-12pm one morning per week for 8 weeks
Location: Clondalkin, Dublin 22
Cost: €40 unwaged / €60 waged

Positive Parenting for Changing Families This practical and positive course for parents of 2-12 year olds builds on existing skills to support parents to manage behaviours and development well, with a focus on understanding the needs of children in order to understand behaviours.
Starts: 3rd October 2017
Duration: 10am-12pm one morning per week for 8 weeks
Location: Clondalkin, Dublin 22
Cost: €40 unwaged / €60 waged

Parenting When Separated To address the challenges of parenting when separated, Parents Plus developed this six week course for parents who are preparing for, going through, or have gone through a separation or divorce. It supports parents to work through shared parenting problems in a positive way that is focused on the needs of children.
Starts: 4th October 2017
Duration: 9am-11am one morning per week for 8 weeks
Location: Smithfield, Dublin 7
Cost: €40 unwaged / €60 waged

Parenting Through Stressful Times This course supports people who are parenting alone or sharing parenting in recognising and positively managing stress in themselves and in children. It gently explores the influence stress plays and how we manage daily challenges, and the many tools that can aid and support adults and children to cope with stress and maintain a healthy balance.
Starts: 8th November 2017
Duration: 12pm-2pm one afternoon per week for 8 weeks
Location: Smithfield, Dublin 7
Cost: €40 unwaged / €60 waged

Online Parenting Support Programmes We offer two facilitated online programmes, Positive Parenting and Family Communications, that run throughout the year. Eight weekly sessions are communicated via email and include reflective exercises and completion of a learning journal, all of which can be done in your own time at your own discretion. Optional individual support by email and mentoring around parenting topics from our Director of Children and Parenting Services, and assessment with issue of a Certificate of Completion, are also included.
Starts: Monthly
Duration: Approx. 2 hours per week
Location: Online
Cost: €9.99

Find out more about all of these courses, or book online, here or call us on 01 662 9212 if you’d like more information.

For Parents: Education & Career

Would you like to get back to education and/or work? It can be hard to know where or how to start. We have two upcoming programmes that may fit your needs. Both are free and offer accreditations recognised on the National Framework of Qualifications.

New Futures, starting in October 2017, is a free 24 week; part-time personal and professional development programme specifically designed for those parenting alone or sharing parenting. It is accredited at QQI Level 4.

Options, a full academic year program beginning later this month, is a part-time introductory programme specifically designed for those parenting alone or sharing parenting, and is run in partnership with Ballsbridge College of Further Education. It provides practical skills for progression into employment, self-employment, and/or college.

More information about New Futures and Options is here. If you are interested in one of these programmes but are unsure if it suits your needs at this time, please email us at programmes@onefamily.ie or call 01 662 9212.

For Professionals: Professional Development Programmes

If you work with parents and/or children; are a family support worker, social worker, youth worker, family therapist, educator, drugs project worker or counsellor, or deliver parenting/family support courses, One Family runs accredited programmes that will help you to build on your skills, knowledge and approach.

Programmes include Positive Parenting for Changing FamiliesFamily Communications: Coping with Family Life and Communication with Teenagers, and half-day Skills Acquisition Workshops. 

Booking is open now for:

Workshop: Supporting Families to Reduce Conflict in Communication

This solution-driven workshop explores how to practitioners can support parents in practising clear and direct communication in relation to common family dilemmas using a non-violent communication framework, identifying communications styles, understanding the connection between needs and choices of behaviour, exploring the benefits and disadvantages of conflict within relationships and families, and more. Workshop places will be limited to twenty people, as they will be facilitated in a participatory workshop style, which actively engages participants.
Date: 24th October 2017
Duration: 1pm-4.30pm
Location: ISPCC, 1st Floor Penrose Wharf, 4/5 Alfred Street, Cork
Cost: €50
Book here.

Workshop: Parenting Through Stressful Times

This intense workshop for professionals working with parents and families will explore how they can support parents in understanding the effects of stress on both parents and children, the importance of having support as a way to combat stress, how to identify stress in children and how it impacts on behaviour and wellbeing, and to develop strategies to develop a less stressful environment for children and parents.
Date: 23rd November 2017
Duration: 9.30am-1pm
Location: One Family, 8 Coke Lane, Smithfield, Dublin 7
Cost: €50
Book here.

Our next three-day Family Communications programme is also booking now for February 2018 in Dublin 7. One Family can also deliver workshops and programmes directly at your organisation with a minimum of ten participants.

Sign up to receive our Professional Development updates here to be among the first to hear about our new programmes and schedules.

If you would like to find out more about any of our training opportunities, call us on 01 662 9212 or email info@onefamily.ie.

Vacancy | Parenting and Welfare to Work Facilitator

One Family is hiring. We are seeking experienced facilitators to deliver our programmes for parents. One Family has developed manualised programmes which will be delivered by facilitators in both our Parenting and Programmes services. Our programmes aim to support lone parents to meet the challenges of parenting alone and progress into sustainable training, education and employment opportunities.

To find out more about the role and application process, please go to our Vacancies page here.

Policy | Update from the Policy Desk

Valerie Maher, our Policy & Programmes Manager, writes about some of our recent policy work.

The Policy Service has been very busy over the summer. We attended the Social Inclusion Forum in June with a member of our volunteer Policy Panel who is parenting alone. The Forum encourages discussion on social inclusion issues between officials from Government Departments, Community and Voluntary Organisations and people experiencing poverty. In July, we developed our Pre-Budget Submission and attended the Pre-Budget Forum hosted by the Department of Social Protection.This year our submission is focussed on in-work supports, childcare, housing, child poverty, reforming our family law system and access to education.

One Family sits on the National Advisory Council on Children and Young People which was set up to ensure the implementation of Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures: The National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2014-2020. From its outset, the Advisory Council identified child poverty as the single biggest concern that impacts on children’s lives. In October 2015, a child poverty subgroup was established comprised of both statutory and non-governmental (NGO) representatives, including One Family. In July this year we officially launched a document on child poverty that puts forward real solutions that can help Government to meet their commitment to lift over 100,000 children out of poverty by 2020 and we issued this press release. You can read more about the work of the Advisory Council in its latest ezine update.

This month, part of the Affordable Childcare Scheme commences. One Family has met with officials in the Department of Children & Youth Affairs (DCYA) to ensure that the new scheme specifically acknowledges the needs of families we work with and represent. We provide information about what childcare supports you may be able to access here, and the Department’s information site is here.

Our askonefamily helpline can also provide information on 1890 66 22 12 / 01 662 9212.

Media | One Family Podcast: Farewell to Cherish House

Last month, after over forty years in Cherish House on Lower Pembroke Street, One Family moved to new premises in Smithfield, Dublin 7 to more fully meet the need of parents and children as demand for our supports and services continues to grow. While looking forward to the move and to welcoming clients to the new building, everyone who has lived, worked or visited Cherish House over the decades has been moved by the story of the building, by its history and by the memories it holds.

Just before moving, our founding member Maura O’Dea Higgins and some of One Family’s staff team spoke with producer Judy-Meg Ní Chinnéide about Cherish House. Maura recalls trying to find other women who were lone parents in 1970s Ireland, how the organisation came into being in Cherish House, and the early days of meetings by firelight when there was no electricity. Staff shared what the building and its people have meant to us and to the families who lived here when they had nowhere else to go, and how will we carry those memories with us into the future.

Listen to the podcast on the link below (7.5 minutes duration). We hope you enjoy it.

 

Music credit: Søren Nissen Jørgensen.

The music on this podcast is shared under a Creative Commons license by its composer Søren Nissen Jørgensen.

Policy | One Family’s Budget 2018 Recommendations

Ahead of the annual Pre-Budget Forum taking place today, One Family joined with Barnardos, Children’s Rights Alliance, National Youth Council of Ireland and the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul to call on Government to ensure Budget 2018 includes key provisions to tackle child poverty as we are deeply concerned that one in nine children in Ireland remain in consistent poverty. We believe not enough is being done to remedy this. You can read our jointly issued press release here.

One Family’s Pre-Budget Submission 2018 targets child poverty as, according to SILC (2008-2015), children in one-parent households are almost four times more likely to live in consistent poverty than those in two-parent households. Our Submission also focuses on in-work supports to make work pay. Reforms of the One-Parent family Payment (OFP) have resulted in only marginal increases in employment rates for some one-parent families, a reduction in employment for those children over 12, and higher rates and child poverty and deprivation in these families. The other areas we focus on are:

  • Housing & Homelessness,
  • Access to Education & Training,
  • Early Years, Out-of-School and Afterschool Childcare, and
  • Family Law Courts Reform.

You can read our Pre-Budget Submission 2018, which includes our analysis and recommendations, on this link.

#EndChildPoverty

#MakeWorkPay

#Budget2018

 

Press Release | Budget 2018 will be a Litmus Test of Taoiseach’s Commitment to Lift 100,000 Children Out of Poverty

Press Release

Budget 2018 will be a litmus test of Taoiseach’s commitment to lift 100,000 children out of poverty

Dublin, 21st July 2017 Leading NGOs in Ireland have joined voices ahead of the annual Pre-Budget Forum taking place on Friday the 21st July to call on the Government to ensure Budget 2018 includes key provisions to tackle child poverty. Barnardos, Children’s Rights Alliance, National Youth Council of Ireland, One Family and the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul are deeply concerned that one in nine children remain in consistent poverty and believe not enough is being done to remedy this.

“We welcome that An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar has made a clear public commitment that lifting 100,000 children out of consistent poverty will be a priority for him. This Government target provides a clear goal to work towards and to track progress against. Budget 2018 presents an ideal opportunity for An Taoiseach to demonstrate his commitment to children.” said Tanya Ward, Chief Executive, Children’s Rights Alliance.

The group has compiled a report outlining a clear roadmap of practical solutions that would make a real positive difference in children’s lives. The group believe a combination of adequate income supports and investment in quality public services is central to reducing child poverty.

Karen Kiernan, CEO, One Family said “It is particularly important to understand where the poorest children in Ireland live and to provide targeted supports. Children living in one-parent families are 3.5 times more likely to be poor than children in two parent families, and these are families who have been hit hard by Budget cuts and reforms in recent years.”

Government investment in quality early years services makes good sense. Yet Ireland continues to seriously lag behind internationally in levels of investment.

Tanya Ward, CEO, Children’s Rights Alliance said “Poverty can destroy a child’s life. Making childcare affordable is a route out of poverty because it helps children to learn and supports parents to work. Budget 2018 must invest in childcare so families can better afford it, services can improve in quality, and every child can reach their potential – not be stuck in a poverty trap.”

Succeeding in education unlocks children’s potential and enables them to escape poverty. However, participation in the education system comes at cost that pushes many families into debt.

June Tinsley, Head of Advocacy, Barnardos said “Access to free primary education is a right for all children and it can be realised for as little as €103m per annum, just €185 per pupil. This would cover the costs of books, classroom resources, remove transport fees and voluntary contributions and raise the capitation rates back to 2010 levels.”

The housing crisis continues to escalate with nearly 2,800 homeless children, as well as those living in insecure, overcrowded and unsuitable accommodation.

Hazel O’Byrne, Head of Social Justice and Policy, St. Vincent de Paul commented “Access to secure, long-term accommodation is the solution for these families and that can best be provided through increased investment to build and acquire additional social housing.  Until this is available, flexibility to increase the rates of HAP and Rent Supplement can help to prevent further families becoming homeless.”

Having a long term approach to investing in services rather than annual Budgetary cycles will prove more beneficial in building a more sustainable equitable society for our children.

Mary Cunningham, Director of the National Youth Council of Ireland said “Progress on reducing child poverty rates requires long-term and strategic investment in services and supports. Increased investment in Budget 2018 in services, such the School Meals Programme and Youth Work, is crucial. Investment in these services will make a real difference in the lives of children and young people in the long-term.”

It is essential Budget 2018 shows clear political commitment and investment in implementing Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures and specifically actions that will reduce child poverty. Condemning 139,000 children to grow up in poverty is not a legacy to be proud of.

ENDS

Notes to Editor:
Link to NGO Submission on Actions to Achieve Child Poverty Target (November 2016)

Consistent poverty: proportion of people from those with an income below a certain threshold (less than 60% of median income / €230 per week), who are deprived of two or more goods or services considered essential for a basic standard of living (e.g. a warm waterproof overcoat, an adequately warm home) .

Contact:
Barnardos: June Tinsley, Head of Advocacy:  087 9955076
Children’s Rights Alliance: Tanya Ward, CEO: 087 6531069
National Youth Council of Ireland: Mary Cunningham, Director: 087 2385977
One Family: Karen Kiernan, CEO, 086 8509191
Society of Saint Vincent de Paul: Hazel O’Byrne, Head of Social Justice and Policy: 085 8010308