Waiting lists for family supports grow, families get poorer and abortion is debated, again

Press Release

Waiting lists for family supports grow, families get poorer and abortion is debated, again

(Dublin, Thursday 27 June) One Family, Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families, launches its Annual Review 2012 and Strategy 2013-2015 tomorrow, Friday 28 June. In addition, the achievements of participants of its training courses will be celebrated at a Graduation ceremony in the beautiful Pillar Room, Rotunda Hospital, Dublin.

One Family recorded an overall 5% increase in demand for services and worked with over 1,500 parents and children despite ongoing funding cuts as the struggles intensified for many families in 2012. People parenting alone, sharing parenting and families in transition availed of a range of specialist services from One Family including counselling, parenting supports, welfare to work training courses, information and Child Contact Centre services.

CEO Karen Kiernan, in speaking about the rise in client numbers in One Family’s Annual Review 2012 commented: “Across all of our areas of service, demand and delivery grew. These figures accurately demonstrate the reality of day to day existence for so many families in Ireland now. There is huge financial and emotional stress on many parents, which is often also experienced by children; and as One Family has seen at our Child Contact Centres, there is a notable increase in the need for supports for people sharing parenting following domestic violence.”

Ms Kiernan elaborated: “Given the ongoing debate on abortion you might be forgiven for thinking all children and families are wanted and well supported in Ireland. This is far from the truth. Poverty levels have increased, Budget 2012 hit poor one-parent families very hard, more people are separating due to financial stresses and resources are not getting to some very vulnerable families who need help. Despite the fact that we have delivered even more services with even less income, we now have waiting lists operating on most of our services and we cannot deal with the amount of families that need support to get through their particular crisis.”

One Family’s Strategy 2013-2015 is also being launched tomorrow. The organisation will continue to work to improve the quality of life for one-parent families and to leverage expertise nationally to reach isolated families around Ireland. It has called on government to implement Ten Solutions for Smarter Futures; ten no-cost or low-cost measures designed to facilitate lone parents to transition into the workplace or education which were developed in response to the harsh cuts aimed at lone parents in Budget 2012. Stuart Duffin, Director of Policy & Programmes, explained: “Ten Solutions is a proactive message to government detailing ten no-nonsense actions which could facilitate lone parents back to work, education and/or training while reflecting their caring responsibilities.”

Maura O’Dea Richards, founding member of One Family (established in 1972 as Cherish), will be welcomed as Keynote Speaker at tomorrow’s launch, and said: “I never could have imagined that in 2013 I would still be saying this same thing: it is time for an Ireland where every child born is welcomed and where every family type is honoured. I hope that another 40 years does not pass before our Constitution reflects the realities of family life in Ireland.”

Events tomorrow conclude with a celebration as over 150 participants graduate from One Family’s training courses of the past year and will be awarded their Certificates.

Notes for Editors

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, an annual celebration of the diversity of families in Ireland today, with almost 10,000 people attending events this year on 19 May (www.familyday.ie). For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie.

Available for Interview

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

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

Further Information

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