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One-Parent Family Poverty Demonstrated By Household Finance and Consumption Survey 2013

CSOThe Central Statistics Office (CSO) published the results of the 2013 Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS) 2013 today, which was undertaken between March and September 2013. The HFCS collects data on household assets and liabilities, income, consumption and credit constraints. The figures released  demonstrate the effects of the overt discrimination and disadvantage experienced  by one-parent families in Ireland as a result of Government tactics and policies. This is shameful.

Stuart Duffin, One Family Director of Policy & Programmes, responds: “This is yet more very worrying data on the situation of one-parent families, in particular in terms of their level of savings, assets and also debt, particularly on non-mortgage loans. While lone parent households make up 4.4% of all households covered by the survey, they only account for 0.7% of total net wealth.”

“This is bad news for parents struggling on low and insecure wages, coping with rising living costs and no coordinated supports,” he continues. “Parents are short of the money essential for basics. This impacts on and can define a child’s life; denying opportunities and quality of life which increases the odds of a damaged future and a lifetime of disadvantage.”

This follows closely on and reinforces data from the Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) 2013 published last Wednesday which shows that 63% of one-parent family households in Ireland suffer deprivation, and the lived daily realities of the one-parent families One Family supports.

Read our response to SILC 2013 here.

The CSO press release can be read here and the Household Finance and Consumption Survey 2013 downloaded here.

Where’s the education and childcare for lone parents for sustainable jobs?

Press Release

“The best way out of poverty is a job,” says Joan Burton.

“Where’s the education and childcare for lone parents for sustainable jobs?”asks One Family

www.onefamily.ie

The routeway out of poverty is a job: education is the ladder.

(Dublin, Tuesday 27 January 2014) One Family – Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone and sharing parenting – reacts to the RTÉ 1 Claire Byrne Show debate  with the Táiniste, Joan Burton  and President of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams.  The coalition Government promised that austerity would be shared equally between rich and poor, young and old. It hasn’t turned out quite like that. 63% of one-parent family households in Ireland suffer deprivation (SILC Report 2013 published last week).

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO, comments: “Despite it setting out by stating ambitious reformist intentions, under this coalition Government we now see more homelessness, poor access to quality childcare, rising child poverty and vulnerable families pushed onto the live register without supports.”

Stuart Duffin, One Family Director of Policy & Programmes, states, “July 2015 will see up to 39,000 recipients of the One-Parent Family Payment transferred to the Jobs-seekers Transition Allowance until their youngest child is 14 years old. Tánaiste Burton’s mantra is: ‘The best way out of poverty is a job’. Yet 53% of lone parents are already in the labour market and most are working poor. What’s really on offer today for the majority of people parenting alone? Low wages, insecure or zero hours contracts combined with no childcare. That will not take a one-parent family out of poverty.”

He continues: “Táiniste Burton stated last night on the RTÉ 1 Claire Byrne Show that the Job Seeker Transition payment ‘gives lone parents seven years to get into education and then into work.’  Where are these opportunities? Where are these supports? Where are the Out-of School childcare services and training programmes to support parents? We must be solution-focused. Not only do we need to understand poverty but the causes and the routeways out of poverty. Access to free part-time education is the best value approach to activation for Government. Enabling someone who has been removed from the workforce to rejoin it is about more than just assisting them with uploading their CV to an online site. If a job is the routeway out of poverty then access to education is the ladder.”

“If we don’t enable those parenting alone or sharing parenting to be included in Irish society and economy, they and their children will remain outside in deeper poverty and disadvantage into the foreseeable future, and they are voters too,” concludes Stuart.

One Family reiterates its call to Government to enact its 10 Solutions campaign, with an immediate focus on provision of affordable and accessible quality local childcare.  Every parent should have an equal opportunity to create a better future for his or her children. All families deserve an equal chance. One Family is keen to meet with Government to share its European-wide expert knowledge, and over 40 years of experience, on what works for those parenting alone and sharing parenting.

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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 (www.familyday.ie). For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie.

Available for Interview

Stuart Duffin, Director of Policy & Programmes | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 062 2023

Further Information/Scheduling

Shirley Chance, Director of Communications | t: 01 664 0124 / e: schance@onefamily.ie

Dad and child's hands

63% of One-Parent Family Households in Ireland Suffer Deprivation According to SILC Report

Press Release

63% of One-Parent Family Households in Ireland Suffer Deprivation – Shameful!

SILC Report 2013 Launched Today

www.onefamily.ie

(Dublin, Wednesday 21 January 2014) One Family – Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone and sharing parenting – reacts to the Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) 2013 results published today, which clearly show 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%, with distress but not surprise.

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO, comments: “Today’s SILC results amplify what we keep saying. People parenting alone tell us through our monthly surveys, askonefamily helpline and our mentoring, counselling, education and human services that they live on the knife edge of poverty. Government ignores the lived reality of these parents’ caring responsibilities. It continues to enforce new, ill-formed activation measures without provision of effective supports such the long-promised, affordable quality childcare. Over 39,000 lone parents will be taken off their One-Parent Family Payment and moved to Job Seekers Transitional in July this year. The real impact of this will be even more hardship and we’ll see yet another rise in the numbers of one-parent families suffering deprivation in future reports.”

Stuart Duffin, One Family Director of Policy & Programmes, states: “It is shameful and reduces children’s life chances. People parenting alone are still being hit the hardest. Over 800 lone parents who are also caring for adult family members are set to lose another €86 per week this year. How much further can the income gap widen? Austerity has impacted on everyone. Enforced deprivation was experienced by 30% of the population last year, up from 26% in 2012 and the deprivation rate for those at risk of poverty increased from 46% to 53%, which proves that the income gap is widening. How is that just and fair?”

Stuart continues: “One in four families with children in Ireland is a one-parent family, over half a million people. With two thirds of these families shown to live in deprivation and suffering the highest consistent poverty rate, Government needs to finally admit that its current policies are just not working. People parenting alone want to do their best for their children’s futures and 53% of lone parents are in the labour market. But 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. It is very difficult to make progress for your family while living under constant fear of an energy bill or the threat of homelessness, as so many thousands of people parenting alone do today. Government needs to listen and act, as its choices condemn one-parent families to persistent poverty.”

One Family recorded a staggering 30% increase of callers to its askonefamily helpline in 2013. The real impact of years of austerity is only now being realised and one-parent families and parents sharing parenting of their children have borne the brunt of spending cuts. One Family reiterates its call to Government to enact its 10 Solutions campaign, with an immediate focus on provision of affordable and accessible quality local childcare.  Every parent should have an equal opportunity to create a better future for his or her children. All families deserve an equal chance.

Further information on One Family’s 10 Solutions.

Central Statistics Office (CSO) SILC results.

The askonefamily helpline can be contacted on lo-call 1890 66 22 12.

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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 (www.familyday.ie). For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie.

Available for Interview

Stuart Duffin, Director of Policy & Programmes | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 062 2023

Further Information/Scheduling

Shirley Chance, Director of Communications | t: 01 664 0124 / e: schance@onefamily.ie

 

One Family Logo

Planned Income Disregard Cuts Will Not Be Implemented

Press Release

Small Step to Make Work Pay:

One-Parent Family Payment and Income Disregard

www.onefamily.ie

(Dublin, Wednesday 5 November 2014) One Family – Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone and sharing parenting – welcomes Tánaiste Joan Burton’s announcement that she will retain the level of the income disregard at €90 for those parents in work and in receipt of the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP), responding positively to One Family’s vociferous calls for its retention following a series of cuts impacting lone parents on social welfare in Budget 2012.

Stuart Duffin, One Family Director of Policy & Programmes, states: “This is a modest investment in poor working parents, helping to make work pay and helping to reduce child poverty. This responsive action by the Tánaiste recognises that many families require two salaries to meet expensive childcare and accommodation costs, something which a family on one income finds extremely difficult to do.”

He continues, “This small step can have a big impact as it will allow parents to stay in part-time work thus keeping their connection with the labour market and making it more likely that s/he will be able to progress to full-time employment when family life permits. We have seen parents have to leave part-time work since the income disregard was cut as work just didn’t pay for them anymore. Keeping the income disregard at this modest level will assist government policy of activating OFP recipients into the labour market.”

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO explains, “Prior to Budget 2012, 60% of those on the OFP were in work and today that has halved to around 33%. This is a reality which One Family does not want to see perpetuated. To maintain the income disregard at the €90 level will cost €8.3m in 2015 and approximately €15m in 2016 which is a small sum given what has been cut from individual one-parent families’ incomes over the past few years.

She continues, “Income disregards offer an immediate incentive and instant return for parents. However, this is just the first step in economic and social policy working together. More needs to be done to deliver high quality employment, affordable part-time education and appropriate training for those parenting alone so they can move out of consistent poverty. We look forward to working with the Department and the Tánaiste to ensure that the 39,000 parents coming off the OFP in July 2015 have access to quality information, advice, supports and opportunities tailored to their needs so that government policy will be a success instead of a failure.”

Note on Income Disregard

Parents can work and receive the One-Parent Family Payment. The amount of this payment depends on their weekly means. Currently the first €90 of parents gross weekly earnings is not taken into account (or disregarded). This means that parents can earn up to €90 per week and qualify for the full One-Parent Family Payment. Half the remainder of a parent’s gross earnings up to €425 per week is assessed as means. If parents  earn between €90 and €425 per week they may qualify for a reduced payment. SW 19 Social Welfare Rates of Payment booklet shows the amount of OPF payable with a parent’s means. Social insurance contributions, superannuation/PRSA contributions and trade union subscriptions are not taken into account in the assessment of earnings. However, gross earnings must be below €425 before any deductions are allowed.

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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 (www.familyday.ie). For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie.

Available for Interview

Stuart Duffin, Director of Policy and Programmes | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 0622023

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

 

 

 

Government Promised to Make Work Pay but Budget 2015 Will Push More Vulnerable Families Out of Work

Press Release 

Government Promised to Make Work Pay

But Budget 2015 Will Push More Vulnerable Families Out of Work

www.onefamily.ie

(Dublin, Tuesday 14 October 2014) One Family – Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone and sharing parenting – today responds to Budget 2015 acknowledging the small increase in the universal child benefit and the partial reinstatement of a Christmas Bonus, yet noting that the failure to commit to retaining the Income Disregard level or provision of affordable accessible childcare prove that Government’s ears are still not fully open to the voices of Ireland’s one-parent and shared parenting families.

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO explains: “Enda Kenny said that this Budget would be about building for the future. Yet thousands of one-parent families are denied that opportunity. Research shows that it is poverty, not family structure, that most impacts on outcomes for children. While the child benefit increase of €5 and the partial re-instatement of the Christmas Bonus may be welcomed by some parents, these are not cost-effective measures that will impact on poverty levels in any tangible manner without being tailored to respond to need. 53% of lone parents are in the labour force yet one-parent families remain those statistically most at risk of poverty.  Maintaining the Income Disregard would be an effective step towards making work pay, rather than forcing low and middle income families into the preposterous position of being less well-off when working.”

Stuart Duffin, One Family Director of Policy & Programmes, states: “Let’s be absolutely clear. If Government wants to invest money to help working parents, tailored investment in education and not expensive one-size fits all activation measures is a way of doing that. Together, both the NGO sector and the Government could do a lot more at far less cost by improving access to part-time education. Government must recognise the importance of locally tailored services.”

One Family’s 10 Solutions campaign – 10 effective measures that Government could implement at low or no cost – have been partially listened to but not fully addressed meaning that the disastrous legacy of Budget 2012 will continue to entrap one-parent families in poverty.  With over 55,000 more lone parents being moved onto the live register by 2015, with little in place, more children will grow up in poverty.

Karen Kiernan continues: “One-parent families in working poverty and parents sharing parenting of their children have borne the brunt of spending cuts such as the changes to the Single Person Child Carer Tax Credit last year, and the ill-formed re-activation measures flagged in Budget 2012. Government should be doing everything it can to help poor children, not condemning more children to join them. There is no future in that.”

/Ends.

Available for Interview

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

Stuart Duffin, Director of Policy & Programmes | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 062 2023

 

 

 

Government Policies Push More One-Parent Families Out of Work and Into Poverty

Press Release

Government policies push more one-parent families out of work and into poverty –

One Family Annual Review 2013

www.onefamily.ie

(Dublin, Monday 29 September 2014) One Family – Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone and people sharing parenting – launches its Annual Review 2013 amid ongoing trends of embattled parents leaving work due to poorly thought-out government policies, lack of quality out of school care and rising accommodation costs.

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO explains: “2013 was another hard year for one-parent families in Ireland. The poorly planned policies in Budget 2012 are pushing more people parenting alone onto social welfare fulltime as they cannot afford to work, attend education or get workplace experience due to government cuts. This makes no sense and is counter-intuitive as on the one hand government is forcing people onto the live register when their youngest child is seven, whilst at the same time making it harder for them to stay connected to the labour market as the income disregard has been slashed. We know that work isn’t working for far too many families. We must move on from attacking those parenting alone to addressing real needs by helping people stay in work by increasing the income disregard in Budget 2015.”

Stuart Duffin, One Family Director of Policy & Programmes, highlights: “One Family’s Annual Review 2013 shows a 20% increase in calls to our national askonefamily helpline specifically in relation to social welfare and finance issues as parents try to make work pay, often unsuccessfully. This is because the support they get from the State is continuing to decline in real terms, the barriers to returning to or staying in work can be insurmountable for many and government policies are working against them.”

One Family’s 10 Solutions campaign addresses this as a matter of urgency. Research shows that a key contributor to children’s futures is not the structure of their families but living in consistent poverty.  Current policies mean that Ireland risks seeing more poor children becoming poor adults. This is catastrophic for their life chances and the public purse. But it is not too late to change this.

Karen continued: “We saw a massive increase in tax related queries as Budget 2014 removed the One Parent Tax Credit which is another example of the government not understanding the needs of families who share parenting of their children. The tough qualifications for rent supplement is also pushing people out of work and many families are becoming homeless – this is a matter of urgency.”

One Family’s Annual Review 2013 can be read/downloaded here

A short video summarising One Family’s Annual Review 2013 and 5 key demands for Budget 2015 can be viewed here.

One Family’s demands for Budget 2015 are:

  1. Work must pay for low-income families.
  2. Income disregard cannot be cut anymore and the minimum hours qualification for FIS eligibility should be reduced.
  3. Those on the OFP must have equal access to all of the government activation measures and access to free part-time education to help them get into sustainable careers.
  4. Out of School Childcare needs to be recognised and supported so that parents can access education, training and work.
  5. The Single Person Child Carer Tax Credit discriminates against those sharing parenting – most often against Fathers, and is out of step with the realities of contemporary Irish family life.

One Family’s full Budget Submission can be read here.

Lone parents are being forced out of employment.  The ongoing reduction of the income disregard – the amount a lone parent in receipt of the One-Parent Family Payment can earn without a reduction in supports as they transition into employment – from €146.50 to €60 per week is working against Government policy. This reduction means that it is no longer financially viable for many to work which is the opposite of what Government claimed to set out to do – support lone parents into employment.  Although 53% of lone parents are in the labour force, one-parent families remain those statistically most at risk of poverty.  This cannot be justified.

/Ends.

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 (www.familyday.ie). For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie.

Available for Interview

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

Stuart Duffin, Director of Policy & Programmes | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 062 2023

 

 

 

 

Video | Annual Review 2013 and Five Budget Demands

One Family Annual Review 2013 CoverToday we launch our Annual Review 2013. Throughout the year, we offered 3,611 individual service offerings and 2,474 in-person service interactions; an increase on the previous year of 9%.

Also today, we reiterate our demands for Budget 2015 (our full Pre-Budget Submission can be read here) which is scheduled to be announced on Tuesday 14 October.

This short video features our CEO Karen Kiernan who summarises our Annual Review, and our Director of Policy & Programmes Stuart Duffin, who states our five key Budget demands to Government.

Lone Parents Forced Out of Workforce – One Family Supports New St Vincent De Paul Report

Press Release

Government Claims to Have Protected ‘Most Vulnerable’

yet One-Parent Families are Poorer When Working 

One Family supports today’s St Vincent De Paul report findings 

(Dublin, Monday 22 September 2014) One Family – Ireland’s organisation for one-parent families and people sharing parenting – welcomes the St  Vincent De Paul report published today which recognises that being a lone parent is one of the hardest survival situations in the State. One Family’s 42 years of experience delivering expert services to those parenting alone and sharing parenting helps to strengthen the SVP message.

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO explains: “The devastating impact of Budget 2012 means that those parenting alone have been living a financially precarious life.  Today’s child and family poverty statistics highlight the inconvenient truths for Government; that maintaining the value of social security support helps protect families with children from poverty, and that work isn’t working for far too many families. The government may claim to have protected the ‘most vulnerable’ but there are thousands of lone parents and their children living in desperate circumstances. We must move on from attacking those parenting alone to addressing real needs.”

Stuart Duffin, One Family Director of Policy & Programmes, highlights: “The stark evidence we collate on an on-going basis – from callers to our national askonefamily helpline and responses to our monthly survey – illustrate unequivocally that survival for our families in low-paid or no employment is balanced on a knife edge. This is because the support they get from the State is continuing to decline in real terms, while the barriers to returning to the workplace remain insurmountable for so many. If items such as food, social housing and childcare continue to become more expensive, these families’ overall incomes cannot keep up.”

Lone parents are being forced out of employment. One Family has heard from working lone parents who, with the changes being implemented from Budget 2012, have had a net income reduction of €200 per week. The ongoing reduction of the income disregard – the amount a lone parent in receipt of the One-Parent Family Payment can earn without a reduction in supports as they transition into employment – from €146.50 to €60 per week is working against Government policy. This reduction means that it is no longer financially viable for many to work which is the opposite of what Government claimed to set out to do – support lone parents into employment.  Although 53% of lone parents are in the labour force, one-parent families remain those statistically most at risk of poverty.  This cannot be justified.

Stuart Duffin further comments: “This isn’t just about balancing the high cost of housing, childcare and energy: it includes a family’s need to be part of society, by being able to participate in things many take for granted, such as buying a small birthday present or taking the children swimming on occasion. Government needs to square-up to in-work poverty. ”

One Family’s 10 Solutions to Government address this as a matter of urgency. Research shows that a key contributor to children’s futures is not the structure of their families but living in consistent poverty.  Current policies mean that Ireland risks seeing more poor children becoming poor adults. This is catastrophic for their life chances and the public purse.

Click here to read One Family’s monthly survey results. The St Vincent De Paul report can be read here.

One Family’s demands for Budget 2015 are:

  1. Work must pay and be seen to pay.
  2. The proposed parental dividend must work in conjunction with an up-rated income disregard.
  3. Those parenting alone must have equal access to all of the government activation measures, such as MOMENTUM and access to free part-time education to help raise their labour market skills base.
  4. Comprehensive provision and support for Out Of School Childcare and Recreation (OSCAR). Currently, the new child care provision (ASCCS) only lasts for 12 months, is not available for existing workers and does not take into account existing childcare relationships.
  5. The Single Person Child Carer Tax Credit discriminates against those sharing parenting – most often against Fathers, in effect – and thus must recognise the realities of contemporary Irish family life.

/Ends.

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 (www.familyday.ie). For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie.

Available for Interview

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

Stuart Duffin, Director of Policy & Programmes | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 062 2023

 

 

Child Payment a Start for Budget 2015 but Lone Parents Need Support to Stay in Work

Press Release 

Child Payment a Start for Budget 2015 but

Lone Parents Need Support to Stay in Work

 

(Dublin, 15.09.2014) One Family – Ireland’s organisation for one-parent families and people sharing parenting – today welcomes the welfare to work dividend for parents returning to work provided it is combined with an income disregard for those parenting alone. This is the only way it will help to lift hard pressed one-parent families out of consistent and persistent poverty.

The key aim of Budget 2015 must be to ensure that work pays and is seen to pay. It costs a lone parent more than a couple to bring up a child because there is only one adult to make offsetting savings from their own living expenses. The reduction of the income disregard in Budget 2012 (€146.50 to €60) is working against Government policy as it means it is no longer financially viable for many one-parent families to stay in part-time employment.

Stuart Duffin, Director of Policy & Programmes with One Family said: “We have heard from working lone parents who, with the changes this year implemented from Budget 2012, have had a net income reduction of €200 per week and so are being forced out of employment, which is the opposite of what government set out to do, i.e. support lone parents into employment.”

Although 53% of one-parent families overall are in work, the figure for those on social welfare and working has halved to 30% over the past few years due to the slashing of the income disregard and fewer jobs. Meeting the ‘no frills’ needs of one-parent families is becoming tougher as the cost of a child rises while wages flat-line. It is a picture many hard-pressed parents will recognise.

Stuart Duffin continued:Budget 2015 must ensure an improvement in the labour market position of parents, and in this way increase their ability to be self-sufficient and escape poverty. Cuts have been put in, they have not worked and now parents need supports. Children cost. That is why one-parent families have a higher risk of poverty than those without. The cumulative impact of low pay and cuts to family support contribute to the remarkable finding that the combined wages and benefits of a family with both parents working full time on the minimum wage are still insufficient to meet the basic needs of that family.”

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

  • The Department of Social Protection states that from 1 January 2014 for those on the One Parent Family Payment, the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) scheme’s income disregard will be reduced from its current amount of €110 per week to €90 per week for the duration of 2014.
  • In Budget 2012, it was announced that there would be a gradual reduction in the amount of earnings from employment that would be ignored (disregarded) when calculating the rate of OFP paid and that this change would come in over a number of years.
  • In 2012 the amount ignored was €130; in 2013 it is €110; in 2014 it will be €90; and it will decrease further to €75 in 2015 and €60 in 2016.
  • From 1 January 2014, OPFP recipients can have earnings of €90 without it affecting the rate of payment of OFP and so if your earnings are greater than €90 per week, then the rate of OFP will be changed to take this new rate into account.
  • By 2015, over 55,000 parents will have been moved onto the live register from the One-Parent Family Payment when their youngest child becomes 7 with no national programmes of support or engagement in place.

/Ends.

About One Family

One Family was founded in 1972 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 experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and to those 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 622 212, 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, CEO | t: 01 662 9212 or 086 850 9191

Stuart Duffin, Director of Policy & Programmes | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 062 2023

 

Shortfalls for Children of Separated Parents in Report on Draft Children & Family Relationships Bill

Press Release

Shortfalls for Children of Separated Parents in

Justice Committee Report on Draft

Children & Family Relationships Bill 

www.onefamily.ie

(Dublin, Wednesday 9 July 2014) One Family – Ireland’s organisation for one-parent families and parents sharing parenting – welcomes the publication of the report from the Justice Committee on the Children & Family Relationships Bill 2014 tomorrow. With over 40 years campaigning for legal recognition and support for the wide diversity of families that children in Ireland live in, One Family believes that this Bill is long overdue. The focus now should be to ensure that it is passed as quickly as possible to meet the urgent needs of children and parents though it is disappointing to note that some important issues such as ancillary reports to courts and child safety were not highlighted in the report.

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO comments: “While this Bill is progress, it is disheartening that the Justice Report contains no mention of the need for ancillary services to the family law courts, especially Child Contact Centres which are necessary to ensure safety of children in contentious custody disputes. One Family published an evaluation of its pilot Child Contact Centre scheme in March this year and highlighted this need at the Committee hearing on 9 April. The Courts do not yet have access to professionally conducted family assessments in order to make evidence-based, child-centred decisions that will be safe, enforceable and fair. This has yet to be addressed for the safety of children.”

Stuart Duffin, One Family Director of Policy & Programmes, comments: “This report is a missed opportunity in a number of respects.  Government places ever greater emphasis on the importance of children having meaningful relationships with both their parents yet the report fails to explore ways to mainstream services to support this in the face of family separation, especially for low-income families. When parents separate, benefits and allowances attach wholly to one parent or the other, with often the non-resident parent – most usually the father – becoming ‘invisible’ other than as a source of income.  The report is not addressing this imbalance which has huge consequences for separated parents and their well-being, and that of their children.”

The Children & Family Relationships Bill will need to acknowledge the need for greater cooperation of services aimed at building broad local partnerships. It should result in quality, professional supports to cover the wide range of needs of families during separation and after, and when accessing the family law courts. It should ensure that legislators are equipped to make evidence-based decisions with children’s needs at the centre of these decisions.

Otherwise, while a step in the right direction, additional costs will be incurred to the State down the line while the Bill fails to fully deliver for children of separated families.

One Family’s Child Contact Centres Key Learnings can be read here: http://www.onefamily.ie/wp-content/uploads/One-Family_Child-Contact-Centre_Key-Learnings.pdf

The Executive Summary of the Evaluation can be read here: http://www.onefamily.ie/wp-content/uploads/Executive-Summary-December-2013.pdf

/Ends.

About One Family

One Family was founded in 1972 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 experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and to those 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 622 212, 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, CEO | t: 01 662 9212 or 086 850 9191

Stuart Duffin, Director of Policy & Programmes | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 062 2023

Further Information/Scheduling

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