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Posted: May 12th, 2023

Family Policy

Family Policy

BA. (Ord) Social Care. Year 1 Module: Social Policy in Context. Assessment brief: You are beings asked to evaluate a key aspect of policy relating to this area. To do this, you are required to write a 500 word evaluation as follows: 1. FAMILY POLICY: “Evaluate the activation measures introduced to support lone parent families back to work as a family policy in Irish Society”. In doing so discuss: Background to family policy: What is family policy? What is the aim of family policy? What recent policy framework aims to influence the position of families in Irish society? Introducing the position of OPF in Ireland today: What is the position of One Parent Family in Ireland today? Rationale for the payments: What is the background to payments for One Parent Family? Why were they introduced? What concerns emerged about One Parent Family payments? What are the recent changes and rational for changes to One Parent Family payments? Analyse: What are the consequences of the changes for OPFs? Think about their aim and the reality for some OPF. Evaluate: Evaluate the effectiveness of these activation measures as a family policy. Identify what recommendations have been made to how this policy approach is pursued and administered, why and by whom? What does this tell you about the policy making process and what factors influence how social policies are designed and delivered. Conclusion. Examples of resources to use for writing this essay: • Crosse, R. and Millar, M (2015) ‘Parenting alone in contemporary Ireland’ in O’Doherty, C. and Jackson, A. (Eds.) Learning on the Job. Cork: Oak Tree Press, pp.184-204. • Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs (2006) Government Discussion Paper: Proposals for Supporting Lone Parents, Dublin: Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs • Fahey, T. (2006) ‘Family and family policy’ in Healy, S., Reynolds, B. and Collins, M. (eds.) Social Policy in Ireland. Principles, Practice and Problems, (2nd ed.) Dublin: Liffey Press,pp. 385-402 or • Kiely, G. (1999) ‘The family and social policy’ in Kiely, G., O’Donnell, A., Kennedy, P. and Quin, S. (eds.) Irish Social Policy in Context, Dublin: UCD Press, pp. 254-267 • Kiernan, K. (2017) ‘One Family presentation to Joint Committee on Social Protection Supporting Lone Parents into work or education’ available from • Millar, M and Crosse, R. (2016) Lone Parents and Activation, What Works and Why: A Review of the International Evidence in the Irish Context. The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, National University of Ireland, Galway. Executive Summary only Websites: Citizens information website for details on current payments to OPF Pre-budget submission by One Family One family website:

Family policy refers to the laws, regulations, and programs that governments develop to promote the well-being of families. The goal of family policy is to support families by addressing their diverse needs, promoting family stability and security, and protecting children’s interests. In Irish society, family policy is influenced by the government’s policy framework, which includes the National Women’s Strategy, the National Children’s Strategy, and the National Poverty Strategy.

The position of One Parent Families (OPFs) in Irish society has changed significantly over the past few decades. In 1997, the One Parent Family Payment (OFP) was introduced to provide financial support to lone parents. The rationale behind the payment was to reduce poverty and social exclusion among lone parents and their children. However, concerns emerged about the long-term dependence on the payment and its potential to create a welfare trap.

In recent years, there have been significant changes to the OFP payment, and activation measures have been introduced to encourage lone parents to return to work. These measures include the Back to Work Family Dividend and the One-Parent Family Tax Credit. While these measures aim to support OPFs, they have also resulted in some negative consequences, particularly for those who struggle to balance work and caring responsibilities.

The effectiveness of these activation measures as a family policy approach is a matter of debate. Some argue that these measures provide incentives for lone parents to return to work and can reduce poverty and social exclusion. However, others argue that these measures fail to take into account the structural barriers that prevent many lone parents from accessing work, such as a lack of affordable childcare and flexible working arrangements.

To improve the effectiveness of family policy, it is essential to consider the recommendations made by organizations such as One Family. These recommendations include increasing investment in childcare, introducing flexible working arrangements, and improving access to education and training for lone parents. The policy-making process is influenced by various factors, including political ideology, public opinion, and budgetary constraints. Therefore, it is crucial to engage with a diverse range of stakeholders to ensure that family policies are designed and delivered effectively.

In conclusion, the activation measures introduced to support lone parent families back to work as a family policy in Irish society have both positive and negative consequences. While these measures aim to reduce poverty and social exclusion, they fail to address the structural barriers that prevent many lone parents from accessing work. To improve the effectiveness of family policy, it is essential to consider the recommendations made by organizations such as One Family and engage with a diverse range of stakeholders in the policy-making process.

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