Untitled Document
follow Treoir on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Search the Treoir Website
links

Archive

Current Bulletin

E-Newsletter Archive

News

Press Release

Treoir E-Bulletin   -  2013

Treoir regular Bulletin has brief information on items of interest to unmarried families, unmarried parents and those working with unmarried families. This includes recent legislation changes in social welfare, up-coming conferences/workshops, new books, websites etc.

 

Bookmark and Share

BULLETIN  October-December 2013


One Parent Family Tax Credit
Family Relationships and Children Bill 2013
Childcare for CE participants
Maintenance of Children – Amendment
Unmarried father found to be discriminated against
Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2013
Growing up in a One-Parent Family: The Influence of Family Structure on Child Outcomes
A Guide to Children’s EU Rights in Ireland
Civil Legal Aid
Adoption
Perinatal Statistics 2012
Save the Children’s State of the World’s Mothers Report
Irish Centre for International Family Mediation
Dolphin House Family Law Court Support and Referral Service – Dublin
Social Transfers and Poverty Alleviation
oneparentholidays.ie

 
 
 
One Parent Family Tax Credit
Treoir is hugely concerned that the One Parent Family Tax Credit which was available to both lone parents who are sharing the care of their child(ren) has been abolished and replaced by the Single Person Child Carer Tax Credit which will be available to the main carer only.  Treoir and a number of other agencies lobbied very hard, without success, to have the decision overturned. The only concession achieved is that if the main carer is not working she/he may assign the Single Person Child Carer Tax Credit to the other parent, provided that parent has the child in their care for at least 100 days per year.  We believe, for unmarried families who have no history of a shared family life, the requirement to have care of the child for 100 days is excessive, particularly when a young child is involved.  Indeed it may not always be in the interest of the child and it may not be possible for a variety of reasons.  We believe families should be trusted to make their own arrangements which are in the interest of their children.
Treoir also believes that where the mother (primary carer) marries someone other than the father of her child and is therefore no longer a single parent, but the father continues to share the parenting of his child, it should be possible for him to avail of the SPCCTC in full if he is still a lone parent.
This change will result in unmarried and separated parents and their children being significantly worse off financially and the measure goes against the policy of promoting co-parenting.
 
 
Family Relationships and Children Bill 2013
The Department of Justice and Equality recently published, November 2013, a briefing note on its proposed Family Relationships and Children Bill 2013.  This bill intends to consolidate and modernise current family laws and creates a legal structure to address diverse parenting structures.   Among other issues, the Bill intends to:

  • grant automatic guardianship rights to a non-marital father where he has been cohabiting with the child’s mother for at least a year before the child’s birth
  • allow civil partners, step-parents, those co-habiting with the biological or adoptive parent and those acting in loco parentis for a specified period to apply for guardianship of a child
  • establish that the best interest of the child is the paramount consideration of the court in making orders
  • put penalties in place where a parent refuses to comply with access and maintenance orders

 
 
Childcare for CE participants
From 1 January 2014 any current or new CE participants will be eligible to apply for subsidised childcare under the Childcare Education and Training Support Programme (CETS ).   Childcare places will be allocated to children over the age of 1 and under 5 years of age but not to children participating in the free pre-school year programme.  Parents will have to make a contribution of €15 per week. CE Sponsors can provide information about the CETS programme and will have a list of Childcare Providers participating in the programme.  Childcare places will be provided where they are available.  
For more information contact your local Intreo Office/Employment Office or your CE sponsor.
 
 
Maintenance of Children - Amendment
Following the enactment of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011 changes were made to the Family Law (Maintenance of Spouses and Children) Act 1976.  It is no longer the case that only six months arrears can be applied for where a parent has fallen behind in payments.  Payment of arrears will be at the discretion of the judge.
This information is not reflected in Treoir’s current Maintenance of Children Information Leaflet.  However, we have updated our website and the online version of the leaflet to reflect the change.
For further information see; Part 8, Sec. 31 of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011
 
 
Unmarried father found to be discriminated against
The Equality Tribunal recently found that the Department of Social Protection’s Community Welfare Service had discriminated against an unmarried separated father of two who moved from his home in UK to Ireland to be near his children. His request for a rent supplement payment for a one-parent family with two children was rejected as his ex-partner received a similar allowance for the same children, despite the fact that they stayed with him on a regular basis. He was awarded the maximum payment of €6,348 under the legislation, as he was discriminated against on grounds of gender, civil status, and family status. The tribunal also ordered the Department of Social Protection to carry out a review of its policies and procedures on rent supplement payments, particularly in relation to how separated and unmarried fathers are treated.
Read Decision in full here

 
Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2013
Family law cases have always been held in private (in-camera) to protect the privacy of the individuals involved and in particular children.  However, following the enactment of this Act certain people are now allowed to attend family court sittings in order to produce and publish reports.  The parties to the case may not be identified.  Treoir welcomes this change as it will provide more comprehensive information about what actually happens in family law cases which will inform our clients.  The court will also have the power to make an order refusing press attendance or publication of information.  In using these powers the court must consider the views of any of the parties involved and of any child able to express such views.  Read the Act here.


Growing up in a One-Parent Family: The Influence of Family Structure on Child Outcomes
This study, funded by the Family Support Agency and launched in December, makes very interesting reading and should be of particular interest to policy makers.  The following are among the findings:

  • The majority of never-married lone-mothers and cohabiting mothers are younger and come from impoverished backgrounds with lower levels of educational attainment. The limited educational and work opportunities afforded to these young women impacts on child development and points to a cycle of deprivation.
  • The major finding of the current study, as it relates to policy, is that once socio-economic background differences are taken into account, the association between negative child out comes and living in a one-parent or cohabiting family is substantially reduced.
  • The apparent benefits to marriage as they relate to child development appear not related to marriage per se but to the background characteristics of those who marry.
  • The implication is that family structure does not have a major direct influence on child out comes.  A move towards a welfare system – which supports families on the basis of low educational attainment, poor employment prospects and low levels of income rather than the residential status of the parent – is one implication of this research.
    Download report here


A Guide to Children’s EU Rights in Ireland
This publication by the Children’s Rights Alliance aims to explain to children and those who work with children what EU rights they have.  It explains who they should turn to if they feel their rights are being violated and how they can help get their voice heard.  See www.childrensrights.ie


Civil Legal Aid
In September 2013 changes were made to the means test for qualifying for Civil Legal Aid.  The changes were made following the passing of Civil Legal Aid Regulation 2013. The main changes are as follows:

  • the minimum contribution towards legal advice has been increased from €10 to €30 and the minimum for legal aid from €50 to €130
  • removal of financial contribution for people receiving legal services in proceedings with the HSE on child care
  • the amount of disposable capital you may have and still qualify has been reduced from €320,000 to €100,000.

In order to qualify, you must have disposable income (gross income less PRSI and Universal Social Charge) of less than €18,000.  Child Benefit is not taken into account when assessing income and certain deductions are allowed.  
Link here for further detail

Civil Legal Aid – Waiting Times
There were 5,383 persons waiting to access legal services as of September 1st.  Waiting times have increased significantly in recent years and the Legal Aid Board suggests that this is largely due to the economic downturn. Waiting times for a substantive appointment with a solicitor can be as much as 15 months.  Many Legal Aid Centres are now operating a ‘triage’ pilot system which should result in an applicant accessing an initial appointment (45mins) with a solicitor within one month of application, before going on a waiting list.
 

Adoption
The number of children born to unmarried parents and placed for adoption has fallen dramatically over recent decades, new figures show.  In 1967, 97 per cent – or 1,493 – of children of unmarried parents in Ireland were placed for adoption. Last year that proportion had fallen to less than 1 per cent, or fewer than 50 children.  These figures were contained in an address, by child law expert Dr. Geoffrey Shannon, to an international conference on European Family Law.  Dr. Shannon said the recent referendum to strengthen children’s rights is likely to lead to an increase in domestic adoption. This is because the wording recognised the need for adoption as an option for some children in long-term foster care. “This is a welcome move for children and families seeking legal and permanent recognition, enhancement and strengthening of the family attachments that have grown between them through their years of shared family life” he said.
 

Perinatal Statistics 2012
The decline in births continued at 71,986 births in 2012 compared with 74,377 births in 2011. This represents a reduction of 3.2% since 2011 and 5.3% since the peak in 2009.

  • At 15.6 per 1,000 population, Ireland reported the highest birth rate of any of the 27 EU countries.
  • The average birth rate for the 27 EU countries is 10.4 per 1,000 population.
  • Some 34% of births in 2012 were to single mothers and the average age was 28.8 years.
  • Almost one quarter of births in 2012 were to mothers born outside Ireland which is unchanged since 2011. In 2004, the year this information was first collected, just 18% of births were to mothers born outside Ireland.
  • Just 2% of women giving birth were aged under 20 years, with 30% of women giving birth aged 35 years or older
  • For babies born to Irish mothers the exclusive breastfeeding rate is estimated at 40% compared with over 75% for babies born to mothers from Europe and America which report the highest breastfeeding rates.

The above are some of the main findings in the Perinatal Statistics Report 2012 by the ESRI. 

 
Save the Children’s State of the World’s Mothers Report
This Report looks at countries that are succeeding and failing in saving the lives of mothers and their newborn babies. The annual Mothers’ Index uses the latest data on women’s health, children’s health, educational attainment, economic well-being and female political participation to rank 176 countries and show where mothers and children fare best and where they face the greatest hardships.  The Report states that Ireland is 20th in a list of the best places to be a mother — falling behind other European countries such as Portugal, Slovenia, and Greece.  In a list of 176 countries, Ireland comes ahead of Canada, the UK, and the US which come in at 22nd, 23rd, and 30th.
On a very positive note the risk of maternal death at childbirth in Ireland is one death in 8,100 compared with one in 4,600 in the UK, and one in 2,400 in the US.  Read Report
 

Irish Centre for International Family Mediation
Relationship breakdown is traumatic for any family, but when a family consists of members of different nationalities, or the dispute reaches across borders, this can be even more difficult, in particular for the children.  This Centre, which officially opened in May 2013, provides and promotes mediation in cases of international child abduction and other cross-border family disputes. They use a model of international family mediation which has been developed and is now practiced by members of the EU Network of International Family Mediators. For more information and contact details see www.internationalmediation.ie
 

Dolphin House Family Law Court Support and Referral Service - Dublin
This is a free and confidential drop in service for women who are experiencing abuse in a relationship.  This can include emotional, physical, sexual or financial abuse.  They can provide information about legal options, safety planning, explain how the court works and offer on-going support.  This service is available if you are attending Dolphin House Family Law Court in Dublin.  For more information contact Women’s Aid on 1800 341 900.
 
 
Social Transfers and Poverty Alleviation
The ESRI and the Department of Social Protection Report 2013 examines the impact of social transfers – including both State and occupational pensions, other social welfare payments and child benefit – in alleviating income poverty in Ireland.  The report shows that the proportion of households’ income made up of social welfare payments increased by 50% between 2004 and 2011.  The authors say the figures reinforce the importance of emphasising child poverty in the national social targets for poverty reduction.  See report here
 
 
www.oneparentholidays.ie
One Parent Holidays is a site that brings all the travel information for one parent families together, gives them a forum to share experiences, post advice, share holidays with other single parent families as a tour group, and find holidays that specifically cater to their needs.

 

BULLETIN April 2013

 

‘Baby on Board’ – Treoir’s Information Campaign
Order Treoir’s updated 2013 Information Pack and Leaflets
Changes on Treoir’s Website  - LGBT
New publications for Civil Partners and Cohabitants
ABORTION  -  Report of the Expert Group on the judgment in A, B and C v Ireland
Family Relationships and Family Well-Being: a Study of the Families on Nine Year Olds in Ireland
Parents Plus
Children in Care
National Adoption Contact Preference Register (NACPR)
Childcare / INTREO
A Review of Department of Social Protection Employment Support Schemes
Worklink  -  Employment Support Network
A Potrait of Ireland’s Nonprofit Section

Guide to maternity rights in the workplace
Key Contact – Supported Accommodation Directory 2012
Picking Up the Pieces – The Rights and Needs of Children and Families Affected by Imprisonment

 

A REMINDER FOR TREOIR MEMBERS
The Treoir AGM will be held on the 20th June.  More information to follow.

 

‘Baby on Board’ – Treoir’s Information Campaign
Earlier this year Treoir held a public campaign to provide information for expectant unmarried parents, living together or apart.  The aim of the campaign was to highlight, through its Top ten Tips, key information such as maintenance, birth registration, maternity leave/benefit, cohabitation, shared parenting and establishing paternity.   Due to the success of this raising awarness campaign it has now been extended.  Watch out for our posters on Dublin Bus!
To promote the campaign, we produced a specially branded ‘Baby on Board’ badge which pregnant women may find useful against the age-old plight of finding it difficult to get a seat on public transport.
Badges can be ordered through our website or call Treoir on 01-6700120.

  

Order Treoir’s updated 2013 Information Pack and Information Leaflets
Treoir’s Information Pack for Unmarried Parents has been updated and the 2013 version is now available.  This Pack contains invaluable legal information on key issues including custody, access, guardianship, maintenance and much more.  It also contains information on money matters including social welfare entitlements and taxation.
We have also updated and reprinted our very popular series of information leaflets.  These individual leaflets, for parents who are not married to each other, cover issues such as establishing paternity, birth registration, custody/access, guardianship, maintenance, applying for passports, unmarried fathers, cohabiting parents and shared parenting.
All Treoir publications are available to download at  http://www.treoir.ie.  Copies may be ordered at 01-6700120.  Multiple copies may be ordered by service providers.

 

BACK TO TOP

 

Changes on Treoir’s Website  - LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Parents
A new target box has been added to Treoir’s website.  This new section contains information specifically for LGBT parents. This section is a work in progress and will be added to and updated in line with current changes.
If any of our Bulletin readers have comments on content or believe there are any omissions we would be grateful to receive your feedback at  mailto:info@treoir.ie.

 

New publications for Civil Partners and Cohabitants
In December 2012, the Chief Justice, the Hon Mrs Justice Susan Denham launched two new publications on Civil Partnership.  Justice Denham said that these guides to civil partnership and cohabitation will provide valuable information for gay, lesbian and bisexual people as well as for legal practitioners. The first of these publications, developed by GLEN and the ICCL, is in the ICCL 'Know Your Rights' series and details all the rights and obligations that apply to civil partnership in Ireland.  The second is a comprehensive annotated guide to the Civil Partnership Act mainly for legal practitioners. These guides were written by Dr. Fergus Ryan of DIT.
Irish Times December 2012

 

BACK TO TOP

 

ABORTION  -  Report of the Expert Group on the judgment in A, B and C v Ireland
In November 2012 the Government published the Report of the Expert Group on the judgment in A, B and C v Ireland. This report provides background information on the topic of termination of pregnancy in Ireland, and sets out options for the implementation of the European Court of Human Rights judgment in the A, B and C v Ireland case.
The Report is available on the Department of Health Website and can be downloaded here.

 

Family Relationships and Family Well-Being: a Study of the Families on Nine Year Olds in Ireland
This study sought to examine family relationships and family well-being among nine year-olds and their families using the wealth of information contained in data from the Growing Up In Ireland Study (GUI). The core concern of the overall GUI study is to track children’s development and identify the factors in their family, community and school contexts that shape their well-being at different stages in their lives.  This report by Tony Fahey, Patricia Keilthy and Ela Polek, was published by UCD and the Family Support Agency.
Among the findings in relation to well-being of children it was found that a mother’s educational level has a very significant effect on outcomes for her children.  The children of less educated mothers fared less well on four indicators, ie cognitive development, social-emotional development and physical health. In general, the educational and material resources of parents mattered more for children’s development than what type of marital or living arrangements they had with each other.  The full report may be downloaded here.

 

BACK TO TOP

 

Parents Plus
Parents Plus is an Irish charity committed to developing evidence-based parenting and mental health programmes for individuals and families, and to training professionals and community leaders to deliver the programmes in their communities.  Some 20 different agencies throughout the State have been trained to deliver its new “Parenting When Separated” programme, designed to be a practical, positive course for parents who are preparing for, going through, or who have been through separation or divorce.
For more details of this six-week course, which is being rolled out nationally, see parentsplus.ie/separation.

  

Children in Care
Between 2007 and 2012, the number of children in care increased by almost 17%. A number of factors contributed to this increase, including the general rise in population, the growing awareness of the impact of long term neglect, and the impact of the economic downturn on vulnerable parents. However, the rate of Irish children in State care remains low at 5.4 per 1,000.

Trend in Number of Children in Care 2007-2012

2007             2008          2009            2010           2011

5,307            5,357          5,674           5,965           6,160

 

Children in Care by Type of Placement, April 2012

Care Setting                                                                  No. of Children

Foster Care                                                                          3,880
Foster Care with relatives                                                      1,781
Residential Care                                                                      415
Other Residential Care Placements                                         143
TOTAL                                                                                  6,219

 

Foster Care
The vast majority (91%) of children in alternative care in Ireland are in foster care.  When a child cannot live with his or her parents, either on a short or long-term basis, the HSE will, in the first instance, seek a suitable relative or person known to the child to provide relative care. Relative carers go through assessment and approval in a similar way to general foster carers. In April 2012, 31% of children in foster care were placed with relatives. A small number of children in care are placed abroad with relatives living outside the country.

  

National Adoption Contact Preference Register (NACPR)
Some 7,068 people who were adopted as children have joined this register while 3,137 natural relatives – most of them birth parents – have also signed up.  More than 1,000 adopted people and their birth relatives have been reunited. The register was set up in 2005 with the aim to match adopted people with their natural parents.  Susan Lohan, co-founder of Adoption Rights Alliance, said these figures were disappointing.  She said there were around 50,000 adopted people in Ireland, and, taking into account birth parents, grandparents and siblings, she gave a "conservative" estimate of 200,000 people who could be using the service.  "We want the same system as in the UK where, on reaching 18, you get access to your file. In the case of Ireland, that could mean your birth certificate and your original name. Some adopted people could even get their early medical and care records" she added.
According to the Adoption Rights Alliance adoption and tracing legislation reforms which have been cited by successive government as a “priority” are again being delayed and the Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald has said that such legislation will now come before the Dail some time this year.  The legislation currently being proposed essentially gives a statutory footing to the National Contact Preference Register and the current tracing guidelines.
An Adoption Authority spokesman said it receives around 30 applications to join the register each week and "strongly encouraged" any adopted person or birth relative who wanted to get information or make contact to do so.

 

BACK TO TOP

 

Childcare / INTREO
A new Budget initiative at a cost of €14 million a year has been announced which will provide for upwards of 6,000 additional after school places targeted at children in primary school.  The places will be targeted at low-income families and is part of the Government's overall strategy to support parents in low income families to take up employment.  The subsidised afterschool childcare places will be offered to people who engage with the Department of Social Protection’s INTREO service which is designed to help unemployed people get back to work, training or education. INTREO provides a one-stop-shop where Jobseekers can access the employment services (formerly provided by FAS) and the Community Welfare Services (formerly provided HSE) and the income support services provided by the Department itself.
The INTREO service is currently available at four pilot one-stop-shops in Sligo, King’s Inns Parnell Street, Arklow and Tallaght. Other offices in Ballymun, Kilkenny, Buncrana, Coolock, Finglas and Dundalk will go live before the end of the year. INTREO will then be rolled out to all the Department’s offices nationwide by the end of 2014.  This new service should dramatically speed up the processing of claims.
It is also intended that, in co-operation with the Department of Education and Skills, the scope to include primary schools interested in facilitating on-site after school provision, will be pursued.
Download the Department of Social Protection’s explanatory leaflet on the Subsidised After-school Child Care Scheme.

 

A Review of Department of Social Protection Employment Support Schemes
A recent Government review of whether welfare payments are effective at getting people back into work has found some schemes run the risk of making people dependent on social assistance and recommends making changes to eligibility conditions.  The report recommends changes to the Community Employment scheme, which provides income support to about 23,000 people in mostly disadvantaged areas.  It recommends that time limits be placed on participation and there be a greater focus on job-searching for participants well in advance of their exit. The review also shows that a majority of the 25,000 people in receipt of the back-to-education allowance end up returning to the Live Register after they have completed their courses.  It also states that there is a risk that the allowance may come to be seen as an “alternative funding stream” for traditional access to further and higher education courses among young people.  Internship programmes such as JobBridge are shown to be very effective with more than 50 per cent of participants in the scheme finding employment.  Read review here.

 

Worklink  -  Employment Support Network
Worklink is an employment support network formed as a response to the unemployment crisis in Ireland.  Working mainly through a network of professional volunteers, its objective is to assist unemployed jobseekers successfully transition into full employment. 
The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, T.D. recently (Monday, 7th January 2013) welcomed the expansion of Worklink.  She urged employers to avail of the Department’s employment services: “These are services that can make highly skilled candidates on the live register available to employers at no extra cost and in many cases with a financial subsidy. I would like to acknowledge Worklink’s assistance in communicating these benefits to employers and assisting them in accessing the supports that are available”.  For more information on this scheme visit www.worklink.ie

 

A Portrait of Ireland’s Nonprofit Section
The research for this report involved consultation with five hundred and six organisations and shows that two thirds (63.5%) of Irish community, voluntary and charitable organisations had experienced an increase in demand for their services over the past three years.  The report reveals that almost 60% of charities have seen a reduction in their income over the same period, while a third (34%) reported both a drop in income and an increase in service users.
This report is the first in a series that The Wheel will publish over the coming months based on the research findings. The purpose of the series is to ensure that the information gathered in the research is made available and interpretable by policy makers, academics, funders, nonprofit organisations and all interested stakeholders, including the public and the media.
The report, A Portrait of Ireland’s Nonprofit Sector, can be downloaded here (PDF, 876KB). 

 

BACK TO TOP

 

Guide to maternity rights in the workplace
The Equality Authority has updated its existing guide to Maternity Leave in a Plain English format. An audio version of this booklet is also available.  The guide has been translated into 14 languages i.e. Arabic, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, French, Irish, Latvian, Lingala, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian and Spanish, which are available to download at www.equality.ie
Download the English version here.

 

Key Contact – Supported Accommodation Directory 2012     
This directory provides information on supported accommodation services available to women experiencing crisis pregnancy.  Supported accommodation services can be described as providing ‘semi-independent accommodation, with a support programme in place which is accessed either directly on-site or through external agencies.  The publication is one in a series of resources produced by the HSE Crisis Pregnancy Programme.
Download a copy here.

 

Picking Up the Pieces – The Rights and Needs of Children and Families Affected by Imprisonment
The best interests of the child should be a key consideration when sending a parent to prison, a new report by the Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) has found.  Picking Up the Pieces – The Rights and Needs of Children and Families Affected by Imprisonment also recommends consideration be given to child impact statements, which courts would take into account when considering placing parents in custody.  The report includes recommendations for the Government, the Courts Service, the Prison Service, An Garda Síochána and the media on safeguarding children and families of prisoners.  It recommends that gardaí adhere to guidelines when arresting an individual to minimise the impact on family members. It also urges that the denial of family visits as a disciplinary sanction be prohibited and says child-friendly visits should be facilitated.  About 4,300 children in the State are separated from a jailed father.
Download report here - http://www.iprt.ie/contents/2450

 

BACK TO TOP

Bookmark and Share

Untitled Document LoCall 1890 252 084
Call us today with your questions
E-Bulletin Archives by year
Untitled Document
Please help us continue our work
Donate to Treoir
Untitled Document Download Acrobat Reader
Untitled Document