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Budget 2015: Widening the Gap Between Rich and Poor

 

 

Treoir, The National Information Service for Unmarried Parents, believes not enough has been done in Budget 2015 to ensure that lone parents who are being activated when their youngest child reaches 7 are supported to gain appropriate training to enable them to become job ready.   Also the decision to cut earnings disregard for lone parents from the original €146 per week to €75 in 2015 and to €60 by 2016 is contrary to the policy of activation. The new Back to Work Family Dividend of €30 per week (per child) does not compensate for the cut in earnings disregard for lone parents.

Similarly disappointing is the lack of measures tackling the childcare crisis that working parents face but which impacts solo parents disproportionately.  Childcare subsidies for solo parents seeking to improve their education or actively seeking work would have helped. Some subsidised schemes exist but the promised Swedish model is a long way off.

The abolition of the One Parent Family Tax Credit in the last budget had a detrimental effect on non-resident parents’ (mainly fathers) ability to pay maintenance for their children and Treoir is extremely disappointed that the tax credit has not been re-instated in this budget, showing that the government, yet again, has failed to recognise the importance of promoting shared parenting.

Treoir questions the wisdom of giving tax relief to higher paid earners at a time when there is very strong evidence that low paid and social welfare recipients, particularly solo parents, are at huge risk of poverty.  This can only serve to widen the gap between rich and poor in Ireland.

Treoir welcomes many of the changes proposed, including the increase in Child Benefit, partial reinstatement of the Christmas Bonus, the raising of the threshold for paying USC, income tax relief on water charges and the allocation of €2.2 billion for social housing.

 

Watch them Grow

Unmarried-cohabitant and Solo parenthood in Ireland

 

At the launch:  Margaret Dromey - CEO, Dr. Owen Corrigan - Author,
Senator Jillian van Turnhout, Dr. Ruth Barrington - Chair

Watch Them Grow,  a significant research study by Dr. Owen Corrigan, commissioned by TREOIR and funded by the HSE Crisis Pregnancy Programme has been launched.  The report gives us a greater understanding of the lives of children in different family types. The research was undertaken using the Growing Up in Ireland study data, a major longitudinal study of children which commenced in 2006, and collected information on 11,134 children and their parents in Ireland when the children were nine months and three years.

Download full report here

Download Key Findings

Key Findings 1 : Marital Status, Family Transitions and Solo Parents, including non resident fathers.

Key Findings 2 : Childcare

Key Findings 3 : Parents’s Health and Parenting

Key Findings 4 : Child Health and Wellbeing

Key Findings 5 : Work and Welfare

Key Findings 6 : Crisis Pregnancy

 

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Assistant CEO and founder member Margot Doherty has retired after 32 years of exemplary service to Treoir. We wish her a joyous retirement filled with fun and happiness. Pictured at her retirement party with Treoir Chairwoman Dr. Ruth Barrington.

 

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The School and the Family Today 

‘Good Practice Guidelines’

The purpose of this new publication is to provide Home School Liaison Teachers & Schools with a best practice approach on policies regarding children living with parents married and unmarried, children of separated parents, same-sex parents, non-biological parents and children in care. Home School Community Liaison Teacher Ann-Maire Waddock, produced this publication with support form the South Inner City HSCLs, Carol Finlay from Dublin City Council, GLEN, the HSE, other community members and with support and guidance from Margot Doherty of Treoir.

School guidelines

Download

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Compulsory Birth Registration 


A new Bill (Civil Registration, Amendment, Bill 2014) was published earlier this month (July 2014) which will make it compulsory for unmarried parents to register the father's name in the Birth Register, except where the father is unknown, his whereabouts are unknown or it is not in the best interests of the safety of the child. This is good news for children. 
Note: this won't affect your entitlement to One Parent Family Payment.

See the Minister's press release here
See article by Margot Doherty, our Assistant CEO, outlining the provisions of the Civil Registration (Amendment) Bill 2014 as published in the online Journal on 19th July 2014. 

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Changes to After school childcare

Changes have been made to the After–school Child Care (ASCC) programme in the Department of Social Protection (DSP). Parents will now pay €3 per day, maximum €15 per week, towards the cost of child care and there will be a free after-school pick-up service available. The ASCC has been expanded to include those on a DSP employment programme. Just be aware that you can only get this help for 52 weeks in total.  TREOIR intends to discuss this with the Department and if you have any views please forward them through our ‘contact’ button and/or on ‘facebook’.


Changes have also been made to the Community Employment Childcare programme, which replaces the CE Childcare Education and Training Support (CE CETS). The new programme has been expanded to include parents with children aged up to 13 years of age at primary school.

To find out about eligibility and for further detail of the changes made to both these programmes see here.

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Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance


Some One Parent Family recipients will automatically be paid the BTSCFA.  If you are one of those who got a letter telling you when and how your allowance is paid then you do not have to do anything.  If you are not one of those who got a letter
 already then you need to apply for the Allowance by filling in application form.  As of 2014, this allowance will only be paid in respect of children attending primary or secondary school.

If any of your children are aged 18  or over you must apply for the Allowance for them and give evidence that they are in second-level education.   This application must be made even if automatic payments have issued for other children in the family.
See here for further information

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Jobseeker's Transition Arrangement for OFP

 

Parents who are no longer eligible for One-Parent Family Payment  (OFP) because of the age of their youngest child can benefit from new transition arrangements for Jobseekers Allowance (JA). While JA recipients must be available for and genuinely seeking full-time work, under these new arrangements:

  • Parents moving from OFP to Jobseeker's Allowance Transition do not have to be "available for and genuinely seeking full-time work".
  • Parents can work part-time without restrictions and still receive the JA Transition payment, subject to the Jobseeker's Allowance means test. 

Conditions: 

  • The youngest child of the parent must be under 14 years of age
  • The parent must be continuing to parent alone (i.e. not cohabiting)
  • The parent must satisfy the full Jobseekers Allowance (JA) means test.

Parents will have access to the 'Intreo' activation supports to help them to progress to or to get into employment. 

For more information call us on 1890 252 084 or find more information here.

To contact your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Local Office see here

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Treoir's Pre-Budget 2015 Submissions

 

In Treoir's Pre-Budget Submission to the Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform the following recommendation was made:

Treoir firmly believes that the Single Person Child Carer Tax Credit which was introduced to replace the One Parent Family Tax Credit should be reviewed.  The change meant that the "secondary" parent could no longer claim a tax credit as a solo parent.  A review of the change would be an essential first step in addressing this controversial and discriminatory issue which was introduced in Budget 2014.  Fathers sharing the parenting of their children need support for this vital job they are doing.

Read Submission

Treoir's annual Pre-Budget Submission to the Social Welfare Department contained the following recommendations:

- At a minimum,  Social Welfare Payments and the associated ‘secondary’ payments should not be cut or reduced in any way.  An increase of €5 per week would go some way towards addressing the income defecit of solo parents.

- Solo parents in receipt of One Parent Family Payment should be fully supported with training allowances to partake of suitable education and training which will enable them to enter the labour market for a reasonable financial return.

- An increase in the amount of affordable, quality childcare, with preference given to solo parents returning to work.

- Re-instate the earnings disregard for solo parents to encourage them to take up part-time employment while in receipt of One Parent Family Payment which would incentivise employment well before the youngest child reaches seven years of age.

Read Submission

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Treoir's Submission on the Family Relationships Bill 2014 

 

See Treoir's Submission on the General Scheme of a Children and Family Relationships Bill 2014 to the Oireachtas Committee on Justice Defence and Equality.  The Bill  deals with many different types of families. Our submission mainly focuses on:

*    Rights of Unmarried Fathers who are not Cohabiting
*    Cohabitation Condition
*    Establishment of a Central Register for Guardianship Agreements
*    The Child's Right to Identity
*    Terminology
*    An unlimited number of Guardians
*    Definition of Guardianship
*    Need for clarity around Parentage and Guardianship

Read Submission.

Read Treoir's articles about the proposed changes in family law in the upcoming Child & Family Bill:

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CLICK HERE to read our top ten tips on the important information you should consider if you are unmarried and about to be parents

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Contact us today with your questions. LoCall 1890 252 084

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Call us today with your questions
We provide a free, confidential, specialist information service for unmarried parents, living together or apart, their extended families and those working with them. 
Information is available on Legal, Social Welfare and Parenting issues.


"Your Information Pack is a fantastic resource - full of helpful and practical information" - Email from service provider, April 2014

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Watch this video by All Families Matter aimed at raising awareness of the need to recognise all families in the constitution, including unmarried families.  Treoir is part of All Families Matter Campaign and it would be great if you could share this video.

 

  

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