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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.

Press Release | Budget 2017 Must Make Work Pay for One-Parent Families

Press Release

Budget 2017 Must Make Work Pay for One-Parent Families 

 Ending Child Poverty in Ireland can only be achieved by improving access to employment and making work pay.

 (Dublin, Friday 8th July 2016) One Family – Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting, and separating – calls on the Government to start the process of lifting 97,000 children out of consistent poverty by supporting parents in one-parent families access employment and develop supports to ensure they can stay in the workforce.  Both the Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar, and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, have promised to address the serious issue of child poverty which disproportionally affects children living in one-parent families. One Family holds the Ministers to this commitment and asks that Budget 2017 is used to urgently address child poverty and invest in services and targeted income supports.

Valerie Maher, One Family Policy and Programmes Manager, states: “Lone parents want to work and to access education so that they can create positive outcomes for their children, yet Government consistently implies that they need to be compelled to do so. One Family’s Pre-Budget Submission focuses on the need to invest in services such as childcare, education and housing as well as the need to target income supports for Ireland’s poorest children. This is how Budget 2017 can help the poorest children in Ireland.”

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO, adds: “The relevant Government departments must ensure that work pays, particularly for families moving off social welfare. Time spent on the Jobseeker’s Transition payment could really support parents to access education, training and work experience if the right supports were put in place. We need the income disregard for Jobseeker Transition and the One-Parent Family Payment recipients to be reinstated to 2011 levels of €146.50 so work pays.  Also lone parents should be able to participate in Community Employment schemes through an additional payment of €50 per week.”

Karen continues “Budget 2017 must demonstrate a firm commitment from the Government in working towards resourcing one-parent families rather than penalising them, and to work towards ending the shameful spectre of child poverty in Ireland.”

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

Ends

NOTES FOR EDITORS

  • 1 in 8 people in Ireland live in a one-parent family (Census 2011)
  • 1 in 4 families with children in Ireland is a one-parent family (Census 2011)
  • Over half a million people live in one-parent families in Ireland (Census 2011)
  • 13.5%of one-parent families are headed by a father (Census 2011)
  • Almost 1 in 5 children (18.3%) live in a one-parent family (Census 2011)
  • There are over 215,000 one-parent families in Ireland today – 25.8%of all families with children (Census 2011)

One Family Pre-Budget Submission

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. It offers support, information and services to all members of 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 Summer, an annual celebration of the diversity of families in Ireland today (www.familyday.ie). For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie.

Available for Interview

Valerie Maher, Policy & Programmes Manager, One Family

Karen Kiernan, CEO, One Family

For further information/scheduling please contact:

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

Jane Farrell, Communications & Marketing Officer | t: 01 662 9096

 

Policy | FamiliesAndSocieties Third Annual Meeting

IMG_4617One Family acts as a stakeholder within the FamiliesAndSocieties project which aims to investigate the diversity of family forms, relationships, and life courses in Europe; to assess the compatibility of existing policies to family changes; and to contribute to evidence-based policy-making.

Stakeholders are an integral part of the project; providing a link between the research outputs and how they can be translated into family policies across Europe. One Family uses its knowledge and expertise from working with one-parent, shared parenting and separating families to highlight policy implications and to suggest appropriate and workable policy response.

Valerie Maher, our Policy & Programmes Manager, attended the third annual FamiliesAndSocieties meeting and stakeholder workshop earlier this year.

Some of the findings of FamiliesAndSocieties from February 2013 to December 2015 include:

  • Family forms have become more varied and individual and family life courses are increasingly diverse. We need to be aware of different family forms and treat them equally; policy to support children irrespective of family forms they live in is imperative.
  • Vulnerable families and their wellbeing – lone parents and large families are more “at risk” because the reconciliation of work and family is particularly challenging for them. This can lead to economic problems as well as impacting on social and emotional wellbeing (e.g. time pressure and stress, reduction of social contacts, less quality time with children).
  • Forces that might be crucial for the wellbeing of (vulnerable) families were often related to worklife balance (e.g. changes in institutional childcare provision, changing gender roles) as well as the role of the “culture of work” and employers’ attitudes towards family responsibilities of their employees.

You can read more about FamiliesAndSocieties here, including the outputs and results of the project to date.