"Crisis in Lone Parent Families" - Conference

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Liberty Hall

Eden Quay

Dublin 1


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Lone parent families in Ireland are experiencing a crisis. Reforms introduced since 2012 have seen a 50% increase in the consistent poverty rate from 2012 -2015 (EU SILC 2012 -2015) and now 26.2% of our families are living in poverty.

Ireland is in the midst of a housing crisis which is dispropotionately impacting on lone parent families. According to Census 2016, lone parent families make up 19.9% of families with children, yet 65% of families in emergency homeless accommodation.

This conference will explore the different areas that are contributing to the problems and will seek to inform policy makers with evidence based research and solutions. The conference will explore mental health, child poverty, homelessness, domestic violence, the politics of shame and child maintenance.


Morning Session

9.30 - 10.00 am Registration - Tea / coffee

10.00am Introduction of Keynote speaker Professor Richard Layte - Trinity College

Professor Richard Layte is lead researcher on the Growing Up in Ireland survey. He will be speaking about the long term impact of childhood poverty.

10.40 -11.00 am Chaired Q & A session

11.00 - 11.15 am Refreshment Break

11.15 - 12.35 am Panel 1 Discussion - Chaired by Dr. Rory Hearne

Dr Stuart Duffin is on the Board of Scotlands One Parent Family Organisation and is on many European boards advising on child outcomes. He is currently working in developing Montessori structures in Prague and will be flying over for the event. He was previously policy and programme manager in One Family. He will be speaking about intergenerational and cycles of poverty.

Tracy McGinnis is a lone parent carer for a severely disabled child with a life limiting condition. Tracy is at risk of being made homeless and emergency accommodation is unsuitable for her family needs. She will speak about the realities of sourcing suitable accommodation on HAP.

Fr. Peter McVerry is one of the leading advocates for homelessness and is a life long worker helping people move into long term housing.

Hazel Katherine Larkin is a lone parent and a mental health advocate. Hazel is currently a PhD candidate in DCU and will be speaking about the impact parenting alone has on mental health.

12.35 - 1.00 pm Chaired Q & A session

1.00 - 2.00 pm Lunch Break

Afternoon Session

This panel will be chaired by renowned journalist and broadcaster Vincent Browne

2.00 - 3.20 pm Panel 2 Discussion

Dr. Clara Fischer is a Marie Curie Fellow in the Centre for Gender, Feminisms, and Sexuality at UCD, and is currently working on a project on the politics of shame, lone parenting, and austerity in Ireland. She has published widely on shame and gender, and has explored the relationship between contemporary gendered shaming and the historic treatment of single mothers in Ireland.

Dr Michelle Millar and Dr Rosemary Crosse are prominent researchers on lone parent families. They were commissioned by the Dept of Social Protection to examine the impact of the lone parent changes. Their report examines what works internationally to improve outcomes in lone parent families.

Margaret Martin is the CEO of Women's Aid and a leading advocate against domestic abuse. Margaret will speak of the link between surviving domestic abuse and becoming a lone parent and the fear of poverty.

Louise Bayliss is a spokesperson for SPARK. Louise recently spoke about our lack of a statutory child maintenance agency in Geneva to the UN. Louise will be speaking about the role a properly enforced maintenance system could have in lifting children out of poverty.

3.20 - 3.50pm Q & A session chaired by Vincent Browne

3.50 -4.00pm Closing Statement

We will be facilitating children and further details will be posted when have definite arrangements.

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Liberty Hall

Eden Quay

Dublin 1


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