BSL report - enabling economic security for single mothers and their children

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Single mums and their children need ongoing support through COVID-19 and into recovery. A new report by the Brotherhood of St Laurence looks at the struggles and needs of single mothers and their children.

Aboriginal mums and their children have faced significant challenges under the COVID-19 pandemic. Being away from family, kin, and community has been extremely distressing for many already vulnerable families. Physical distancing and restricted service delivery has created barriers for mums to draw on family and community support whilst also trying to meet the social and emotional wellbeing and financial needs of their family.

Such challenges compound with experiences faced by all single mothers and their children, where the report has found that:

  • Even with careful planning and budgeting, mums cannot make ends meet
  • The fixed hours of childcare clash with unpredictable work hours restricting the choices mothers are able to make about their children's care
  • Strict requirements and conditions for social security payments cause anxiety, distress and harm for the whole family

The addition of the Coronavirus supplement to many social security payments earlier this year, including Parenting Payment Single, has been widely welcomed. Allowing many single mums to be able to make ends meet put fresh food on the table and take their kids on outings. However, the Federal government is set to cut the supplement on 25th September, with the dramatic drop impacting up to 1.1 million children.

Reducing COVID supports for families will remove food from tables for children and push families into further financial and emotional stress. With the economic crisis and uncertainties of COVID remaining for some time, vulnerable families need ongoing and guaranteed support now and into recovery. Children should not suffer because their families cannot find work.

The report calls for wide reform to ensure employment opportunities are family-friendly and flexible and childcare is affordable and of high-quality.

This is a unique moment in the history of social security policy where stakeholders ranging from business groups to community organisations hope to create momentum for the positive changes, we have seen during COVID-19 to remain permanent.

Aboriginal mums, children and families experiencing financial crisis should be empowered and supported rather than pushed to the side. VACCA supports the ACOSS campaign to Raise the Rate and believes that the most effective way to support families into the future is to keep the current level of payments.

BSL report: http://library.bsl.org.au/jspui/bitstream/1/12203/5/BowmanWickramasinghe_Trampolines_not_traps_2020.pdf

Raise the Rate: https://raisetherate.org.au/about/

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