Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and New Year! We thank your for your support throughout 2019 and look forward to working and supporting you all in 2020, from all at TREOIR
In this issue:
- Our Year in Review
- TREOIR – National Information Service
- Policy Development
- Treoir Outreach Services 2019
- Teen Parents Support Programme 2019
- In the community
Our Year in Review
The past year has been very busy for Treoir with our services, policy work, outreach/training, an increase in membership, and new council appointments. We launched our Strategic Plan 2019-2023 at our AGM in May which provides direction to achieving our overall aims and objectives through five key areas of priority. You can view the Plan below.
Treoir had significant changes to our Council, with June Tinsely, and Thomas Quigley stepping down, and Robin Hanan, Louise Bayliss, Dave Saunders and Adele O’Connor all taking seats as Council members. We wish to again thank June and Thomas for their commitment to Treoir’s work over their term and wish them all the best in their new ventures.
Another big change for Treoir was our move to new offices in October 2018 after more than 15 years at the IFSC. We are now based at 28 North Great Georges Street, Dublin 1 and have settled in well throughout 2019. This is a more central location making our drop-in service more accessible.
The information service continues to provide high quality information both by telephone, email and through our publications. Veronica continues to provide outreach services in local communities throughout Ireland. You can find out how to book your session for 2020 in this eBulletin. Veronica Black continue to provide tailored training and outreach services to members and other organisations within our sector. You can read more about our Outreach/Training service in the below corresponding section.
Treoir continues to co-ordinate the Teen Parents Support Programme and Margaret Morris has provided an update on its work in this eBulletin also.
We were successful in securing funding from Pobal for a membership development post and Sam has already had an impact in reaching out to our existing members to keep them informed about our work and ways for them to engage with the policy work of Treoir. She has also been very successful at bringing in new members to Treoir. You can read more about Sam’s work in this bulletin.
In terms of policy development, it has been a very busy year for Treoir. You can read more about Mary Roche’s work in her policy section below.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all our supporters, members, callers and friends a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
You can read our Strategic Plan 2019-2023 here
TREOIR – National Information Service
Treoir provides a free, confidential and up-to-date information and referral service for unmarried parents whether living together or not, and the agencies involved with them.
The information service has helped many unmarried parents as they navigate their new roles as either cohabiting couples, newly separated or never togethers.
Call us today with your questions at 01 6700 120, visit www.treoir.ie, email us at email@example.com or drop-in between 10am-1pm, 2pm-4pm Monday-Friday (excl. public holidays)
Treoir provides an Information Pack for service providers and parents annually.
You can order free copies of our Information Packs for Unmarried Parents here
As 2019 comes to an end it is time to reflect on the policy milestones of the past twelve months. Chief among these was the publication in October of the Report on Reform of the Family Law System by the Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality. This comprehensive and potentially groundbreaking report made several significant recommendations. These include reform of the family court structure with the establishment of a dedicated and integrated family court within existing court structures. The Committee urged the Minister for Justice to make this a matter of legislative priority and to back this up with the necessary resources and implementation.
During Committee hearings speaker after speaker described the current family law system as not fit for purpose and at breaking point. Practitioners and NGO’s spoke of an environment characterised by chronic overcrowding and an acute lack of resources. In its current form, the Family Law System was described as totally unsuitable for children and for the sensitivity of family law proceedings.
In the Oireachtas Report the proposed modernisation of the family law system would include a greater emphasis on conflict resolution and mediation, appropriate areas for child and welfare assessment, crèche facilities, translators, and disability access and supports. The Committee recommended greater resourcing of legal aid, the consolidation of existing legislation to ensure the views of the child are heard, and the replacement of terms such as guardianship, custody and access with more child friendly legal concepts like “parental responsibility” and “contact,” that are common in other jurisdictions.
In total, the Oireachtas Justice Committee made thirty-eight recommendations to government. Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has accepted these and given a commitment in the Dáil to begin reform. With an election looming in early 2020 Treoir is keen to ensure that pressure is kept on all political parties in this regard. To this end, we intend to lobby all party leaders from early January 2020 and get commitments that the Report’s recommendations will be included in the Programme for Government. We will also be seeking a commitment from the main parties that implementation will begin during the lifetime of the next Dáil. Treoir is committed to reform of the family law system and we will work tirelessly in 2020 with others to ensure this becomes a reality.
Keeping with the theme of reform Treoir has welcomed the recent announcement from the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty to set-up an expert working group to look at reform of the family maintenance system. Treoir has begun work on a draft submission and is working in collaboration with other NGO’s to ensure this issue is on the agenda of any new government.
Going forward 2020 promises to be a very busy year as unmarried parents continue to be treated differently to their married counterparts in significant areas especially in relation to taxation, social welfare and the labour market. Huge challenges remain in relation to aspects of the government’s National Childcare Scheme – these particularly impact lone parents, poor and vulnerable children, disadvantaged communities, undocumented migrants with children and marginalised ethnic minorities. Treoir is committed to ensuring the anomalies in the scheme are fixed and we will continue to lobby in 2020 for a model of childcare that alleviates child poverty as opposed to adding to it, which is the case with the current scheme.
The New Year brings to the fore the prospect that we will have a new government by the summer. This presents Treoir and other anti-poverty organisations with a very real opportunity to influence policy and progress some of the issues listed above. We will be doing so, however, in the context of the worst housing crisis since the foundation of the state, the dismantling of key public services, and growing inequality.
Taken together these issues continue to have a huge impact on the quality of life of unmarried parents and on the life chances of their children. Treoir is committed to working for a fair and equal society where unmarried parents and their children have an opportunity to live decent and fulfilling lives. In 2020 social and economic justice for unmarried parents will be the driving force in all Treoir’s initiatives and our guide in determining good social policy.
The Oireachtas Justice Committee Report on Reform of the Family Law System can be read here
TREOIR Outreach Information Services
January 2019 – December 2019
Treoir provides free outreach information workshops to groups of unmarried parents, their extended families and to professionals who provide services to unmarried parents.
The aim of the workshops is to provide accurate and up-to-date information on matters of relevance to parents and their children.
Topics covered include:
- the legal rights and responsibilities of parents who are not married to each other (such as guardianship, access, custody, maintenance, birth registration, cohabitation, passports etc.)
- social welfare allowances, employment and training/education opportunities which are available to parents
- shared parenting and explaining family relationships to children
Workshops are tailored to respond to the needs of individual groups.
In 2019 Treoir provided 26 outreach information workshops to groups throughout the country. Workshops took place in Cashel, Cork, Dublin, Ennis, Galway, Kildare, Kilkenny, Limerick, Meath and Tralee.
Four hundred and seventeen people participated in the workshops which were attended by parents, workers and students.
Treoir hosted 21 workshops to groups of workers who provide services to unmarried parents and their extended families. Workshops were attended by a wide range of service providers from the community, voluntary and statutory sectors.
As part of Tusla’s National Child and Family Support Week in May 2019 Treoir provided a training workshop on the Children and Family Relationship Act 2015, to a range of specialist service providers in Tipperary.
The workshop was attended by youth & community workers, social workers, teachers, Gardai, workers from Family Resource Centres, domestic abuse services, addiction services etc.
One workshop was provided to a group of secondary school students.
Five workshops were provided to parents attending support services throughout the country, including a support programme for young mothers, a support programme for men who are struggling /in distress, a self help and support group for fathers, a community resource centre for One Parent Families and a support service for parents attending a local community project.
Participants at Treoir ‘s workshops are made aware of all the services provided by Treoir including its publications, its role in advocating for the rights of unmarried parents and the National Information Service. Treoir’s policy and advocacy work can be informed by and reflect issues identified by participants at the workshops. All participants receive a copy of Treoir’s Information Pack for Unmarried Parents and a selection of Treoir’s leaflets.
Issues identified in the workshops
Many questions arose in the workshops regarding guardianship including the following:
- What does guardianship mean?
- What is the difference between guardianship and custody` of a child?
- How does a father get guardianship?
- Under the Children and Family Relationship Act 2015 a father who lives for 12 consecutive months, after 18th January 2016, with the mother of his child including three months with the child, at any time after the child is born, is automatically a guardian of the child. Where there is a disagreement or uncertainty between parents as to whether or not the father has been cohabiting with the mother and child for the required length of time a father can apply to the court for a declaration that he is a guardian. How can a father prove that he cohabited with the mother of his child for the required 12 months ?
- How many guardians can a child have?
- How can a relative get guardianship of a child who is in their care?
- Must a grandparent/relative be a guardian of the child to qualify for Guardian’s Payment?
- What is the difference between step-parent guardianship and step-parent adoption?
Treoir is made aware of the many and varied issues that may impact on the lives of parents and children through the workshops around the country.
Where parents are not married to each other, having the father’s name on a child’s birth certificate does not give the father any automatic legal rights to his child. Many workers and parents attending the workshops believed that having the father’s name on a child’s birth certificate gave him legal rights in respect of his child. Some mothers reported that that they were informed by the Gardai that the father’s consent was required for the child’s passport. The father’s consent is only required if he is a guardian of his child.
The Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 radically changed family law. Since the commencement of certain provisions of the Act in January 2016 there has been an increased demand from professionals for information workshops on the legislation.
FEEDBACK FROM WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS
Thank you for facilitating the team’s training yesterday . We really appreciate you coming here to us and delivering such thought provoking training which is so relevant to our work . We look forward to using Treoir as a resource and it is very reassuring to know about your service and the legislation you highlighted with us. Project Leader, HSE Social Inclusion and Addiction Service
Thank you so much for your workshop today. Everyone really enjoyed it. We all learned so much. We look forward to working with you in the future. it was great to have all the leaflets and printouts to take away to refer back to in the future. Workers in Meath Partnership
FOR INFORMATION ON TREOIR WORKSHOPS CONTACT:
VERONICA BLACK – INFORMATION & TRAINING OFFICER
firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 01 6700 120
Teen Parents Support Programme (TPSP) 2019
Teen Parents Support Programme
Focus on Fathers
Free one-day Workshop
Thursday 12th March 2020 9.30am to 4.30pm
Ashling Hotel Hotel,
The Teen Parents Support Programme (TPSP) consists of 11 projects throughout the country funded by Tulsa and the HSE. Each project provides a variety of supports and interventions to teenage parents -mothers and fathers- and their families. See www.tpsp.ie .
Currently the needs of young fathers tend to be largely forgotten by family support services. At the same time research is telling us that being involved in the lives of their children brings enormous benefits to both the children and the fathers themselves. Young fathers, in particular, face numerous obstacles in participating in the lives of their children. For the most part they are not living with the mother of their child. They are often viewed as the ‘villain’ in the situation and are dependent on the attitudes of both sets of families and of professionals with whom they come in contact. Free Workshop The TPSP is offering a free one-day Workshop for professionals who have contact with young fathers. The aims of the Workshop are to:
- raise awareness regarding the value of fatherhood in a child’s life
- introduce participants to the use of the Young Dads Resource Pack and other material relevant to their work with young fathers. This Resource Pack was developed by the Louth TPSP with funding from the HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme. Learning outcomes At the end of the Workshop participants will have:
- explore issues surrounding fatherhood
- increased awareness of the importance of a father’s active involvement in his child’s life and the benefits of this to the child
- increased knowledge of materials available to support young fathers.
The Workshop will incorporate information, discussion and experiential learning.
As this is a one-day Workshop only, it is assumed that participants will already possess a basic level of skill in facilitating groups and/or one- to- one work.
All participants will receive a USB key of the Young Dads Resource Pack and other relevant material.
To apply for this Workshop please complete the form attached and return to Margaret Morris, National Co-ordinator, TPSP, email@example.com. 087 2518428.
Closing date for applications is Friday 21st February 2020
You can register for the workshop by downloading the form here
Places are limited so attendance cannot be guaranteed.
For more information contact:
Margaret Morris, TPSP National Co-ordinator at:
E: firstname.lastname@example.org. or
Treoir has a wide and diverse membership base that includes specialist agencies, maternity hospitals, adoption services, community groups and self-help groups.
Our membership is fundamental in shaping the work, policies and strategies of Treoir. In turn, we offer a wide range of supports and services to our members.
We have increased to our membership in 2019 with five new organisations coming official members; SPARK, From Lads To Dads, An Cosán, AnyMan and Rainbows Ireland with more due to follow in 2020.
This is an exciting increase in our members as these organisations have much to add to our policy work and the development of our service provision. In addition, individuals from these new member organisations have also taken seats on our council.
Treoir are committed to engaging with our membership so that their concerns form our policy development work.
Our Membership Officer, Sam Dunne, is our point of contact for our members, any issues or concerns, ideas or supports can be directed to Sam at email@example.com.
Sam will announce a number of workshops and events throughout 2020 which will allow members to showcase their services, raise concerns, celebrate their achievements and share ideas with similar organisations.
We will also hold an event early in 2020 to showcase our own service and inform members of our progress as we work through our Strategic Plan 2019-2023.
We look forward to seeing you all and working with you throughout 2020.
In the Community
Threshold’s National Freephone Service is available over the Christmas period from 10am to 4pm on the following days:
- Tuesday 24th December Christmas Eve
- Wednesday 25th December Christmas Day
- Thursday 26th December St. Stephen’s Day
- Friday 27th December
- Monday 30th December
- Tuesday 31st December New Year’s Eve
- Wednesday 1st January New Year’s Day
Any tenant who is at risk of homelessness or has a housing query, can ring 1800 454 454 to speak to an Advisor.
Normal Service will resume on Thursday, 2nd January 2020.
If you would like to add anything of interest to Members Corner, in our next Edition, please send your contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org on or before 28th February 2020
We look forward to reading your contributions!
Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure that the information in this eBulletin is accurate, no responsibility can be accepted by Treoir for any error or omission.