National One Parent Family Alliance: One Parent Families Must Be Prioritised in Cost of Living Measures

The National One Parent Family Alliance (NOPFA) is calling on Government to prioritise one parent families in the upcoming cost-of-living package.

Posted on Thursday 16 February 2023

16 February 2023.The National One Parent Family Alliance (NOPFA) is calling on Government to prioritise one parent families in the upcoming cost-of-living package.

The lack of permanent, adequate and targeted measures in Budget 2023 has left these families vulnerable to further hardship in the coming weeks and months.

Analysis from the Vincentian MESL Research Centre shows that even with the extra cost of living payments and social welfare increases, the shortfall in the income of a one parent family with two children will rise from €82.73 (Q4 2022) to €93.32 in 2023, unless there is further intervention.

The one-off cost of living payments has already been wiped out for many families with rising food and energy costs in the run up to Christmas. 

NOPFA highlight there has been a significant increase in the proportion of the population experiencing enforced deprivation in 2022, and that one parent families experience the highest rate at 45.4%. Most worryingly, the proportion of one parent families who were unable to keep their homes adequately warm rose from 7.4% in 2021 to 21.5% in 2022 according to the CSO Survey of Income and Living Conditions. 

Collectively these organisations have written to the Minister for Social Protection and the Taoiseach stressing the need to prioritise supports for one parent families in the upcoming cost of living package by:


  1. Extending Fuel Allowance to families in receipt of the Working Family Payment as a targeted measure to reach more families experiencing energy poverty. Estimated cost: €40.6 million
  2. Increasing the Qualified Child Increase (QCI) for those under 12 by €5 and for those over 12 by €10 to match the rising cost of raising children and to prevent an increase in child poverty. Estimated cost: €110.5 million.


NOPFA says the measures are well targeted and will make a real difference in the lives of thousands of children. Importantly, it will help achieve the Taoiseach’s ambition of making a sustained impact on the number of children growing up in poverty – the majority of whom are living in one parent families - during his term.

SPARK spokesperson, Louise Bayliss said "Many households are struggling in the current crisis, but some families were already struggling and do not have any spare capacity to weather the current 'cost of living' crisis. There is a real risk that these families will not be able to meet their essential material needs and children will suffer. It is incumbent on the government to target any available resources to where they are needed most."

Focus Ireland Director of Advocacy Mike Allen said:  "One parent families are at a very real increased risk of becoming homeless.  Despite making up just 20% of families in Ireland, one-parent families make up over 55% of families who are homeless.  These figures do not even include one parent families who are in domestic violence refuges or staying short-term with famil friends to keep a roof over their heads.  Thousands more one parent families are really struggling and are now at a tipping point between home and homelessness.  It is vital that there are targeted measures taken next week to help prevent even more becoming homeless and to also help those who already have lost their homes."

Barnardos CEO Suzanne Connolly said, ‘As the cost of living crisis continues, there is a risk that more and more children will spend longer going without the daily essentials of enough food, heat and electricity. As a society, it is unfair and unjust that children are going without these absolute basic necessities. All children across Ireland should be entitled to a decent standard of living. It is vital that Government does the right thing and directs further support to those facing the greatest vulnerabilities.’

Tricia Keilthy, Society of St Vincent de Paul, (SVP) Head of Social Justice said; “At SVP we are seeing the detrimental impact of energy poverty on one parent families every week. The daily worry about mounting bills, living in freezing cold homes, children taking time off school because of respiratory issues linked to mould, no money in the pre-pay meter for a hot shower and not being able to cook warm food. The Fuel Allowance is a massive support to households who receive it, but it doesn’t reach everyone that needs it. Extending it to recipients of the Working Family Payment would make a huge difference to one parent families struggling to pay for heat and light.”

Spokespeople available – 086 044 5966


Notes to editors:

  1. The National One Parent Family Alliance comprises nine national organisations including Barnardos, Children’s Rights Alliance, One Family, FLAC, Focus Ireland, National Women’s Council, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, SPARK, and Treoir. This Alliance was established in 2020 around a shared concern about the high levels of poverty experienced by lone parents and their children.
  2. Children in one parent families are four times more likely to experience poverty than children in two parent families. Prior to cost of living increases, 17% of one parent families lived in consistent poverty, 45% were experiencing enforced deprivation and almost 80% were unable to afford an unexpected expense. Despite making up only 20% of families in Ireland, one parent families account for 53% of homeless families.