A month of news from One Family.
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Spring is in the air and it has been another busy month.

The number of calls, emails and messages to our askonefamily helpline continue to increase as worried parents seek clarification on impacts for their families as they are
 being moved from the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP). The changes to the eligibility criteria for the Payment will affect over 30,000 people this year. Read more about the affects of the reforms below.

We welcomed our Policy Panel 2015 members to their first meeting here in Cherish House on 23 February. The panel members represent the diversity of women and men parenting alone and sharing parenting in Ireland today, and will contribute their lived reality to inform our policy and budget submissions for the year ahead. 

On February 27, we acknowledged the 18th anniversary of divorce in Ireland with a press release which you can read here, and pointed out that - despite scaremongering at the time about the destruction of family life if divorce were introduced - families continue to flourish. As time goes on, and
with the Children and Family Relationships Bill passed through the Dáil and scheduled for the Seanad next week, perhaps we can take lessons from the past to ensure that the reality of family life in Ireland in all its wonderful diversity is recognised and celebrated. 
The 2015 Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon takes place on Monday 1 June and is open for entries now. If you would like to take part for One Family, register here and let us know. Please think of us next time you are out shopping and nominate One Family for the Tesco Community Fund. Pick up a nomination form in your local Tesco store or download it here

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New Research on Family Form

Negative stereotypes can still sometimes be portrayed in the media and in society, and lone parents often tell us that they experience shame because of perceptions of their family type in many circumstances; yet One Family has over 40 years of evidence based research which shows that children of one-parent families do just as well as those within 'traditional' families in similar circumstances. Reputable research consistently outlines that it is not family form that impacts most on outcomes for children, but the effects of living in consistent poverty, quality of relationships at home, and the education level of a child's parents. Two new studies were published this month further demonstrating this. One study published by the University of Sussex disputed the notion that children from lone parent households are at an educational disadvantage; you can read it here. Another study out of Cambridge University showed that supportive families help children to flourish no matter what their structure. You can read it here.

One-Parent Family Payment (OFP)

Government has reversed the cuts to the half-rate carers allowance for those in receipt of the OFP which we welcome. Yesterday we received confirmation that OFP recipients in full-time education will continue to be eligible to apply for a SUSI maintenance grant, which is also welcome news. However, the result of what seems to be a lack of communication and clarification across so many cross-Departmental areas is responsible for creating immense fear and worry for lone parents already under pressure, while those already in part-time work are being hardest hit by the activation measures. The Department of Social Protection must improve the consistency of the information provided in its local social welfare offices around the country, and to other Departments and organisations with responsibility for working with one-parent families. We continue to work hard to highlight the disastrous impacts of massive reform without adequate supports and to make sure the voices of one-parent families are heard.

Monthly Survey

Every month we invite people who parent on their own or share parenting to take our short, anonymous survey. Our March survey is about local childcare services. Take it here and let us know what services are available in your area and how much they cost. Results will be posted to our websites survey page at the end of the month. The results for our February survey are available now. We asked what you thought about possible reforms to Child Benefit Payments. Read what you told us here. Thank you for your continued engagement with us via our surveys on this and many other important issues arising for one-parent families.

Supports and Training

Trouble communicating with your teenager? Don't understand your or your child's behaviour? Feeling overwhelmed? Our Parent Mentors are based in Dublin, Cork, Tipperary and Galway and offer support of a wide variety of issues. This is a low cost service with flexible appointment times available. Find out more here. We are also facilitating new half-day workshops on topics of relevance to one-parent and shared parenting in April. Click here to find out more. One Family also offers a Professional Development suite of expert programmes from intensive half-day workshops to three-day training courses in Dublin and around the country. Book now for April and May! 

Facebook Q&As

Our weekly 10 ways to parenting tips series is published every Friday, followed by a live Facebook Q&A with our Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine, every Monday at 11am. This month, we will be talking about: Supporting Your Children Through Times Of Change, What To Do When You feel Like Giving Up and many more topics. We also hold weekly Facebook Q&A sessions with our askonefamily manager, Sarah, to provide clear information on the One-Parent Family Payment changes. Our next OFP Q&A is on Wednesday 25 March from 11am-12pm. For more information or support on this or any topic, contact our askonefamily helpline.
If you missed the award-winning Today FM documentary Cherish All The Children about our establishment in 1972 and our ongoing evolution, featuring interviews with our brave founders, our first President Mary Robinson and many more, you can listen here.
Read this month's press releases issued by One Family.
One Family believes in an Ireland where every family is cherished equally, and enjoys the social, financial and legal equality to create their own positive future.
Learn more about One Family.
Our mailing address is:
Cherish House, 2 Lr Pembroke St, Dublin 2, Ireland
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