Press Release

Hanafin launches study of young single mothers

Minister for Children, Mary Hanafin T.D., today (Saturday, January 27, 2001) launched the Report ‘Young Mothers’, a study of young single mothers in two communities, commissioned by the Vincentian Partnership for Justice.

“This study was undertaken by Dr. Valerie Richardson from the Social Science Research Centre in UCD, in two areas – Knocknaheeney in Cork and Darndale in Dublin – over a six-month period. The focus of the study is on those women who became mothers when they were under the age of eighteen and who are still only young adults,” explained Minister Hanafin.

“Young single mothers and lone parents in general are seen as a group particularly vulnerable to poverty and social exclusion. Lone parent families have a higher than average risk of poverty,” she said.

“This is why this year, we have agreed to extend the Teenage Parenting Programmes, which are currently working with three of the maternity hospitals,” added the Minister.

The majority of lone parents and the vast majority of lone mothers are dependent on the State for their main source of income. Yet, until now, there was little information on the current situation and aspirations of these young women for themselves and their children.

The Minister noted that the support from their families and, in particular, from the mothers of the young women, is of critical importance in helping the young mothers accept their pregnancy and manage their children after delivery.

“This report highlights the enormous amount of on-going support which the young women receive from their families, in terms of advice, childcare and financial assistance,” the Minister added.

The Minister reiterated her commitment to prevention and early intervention services and spoke about a number of projects aimed at providing support for young people within our society in the family and community setting.

“It is interesting to note that when these young mothers were asked about what they would like for their children in the future, almost half of them expressed the hope that their children would get a good education and a good job,” Minister Hanafin said. This is in contrast to their own lives where most (80%) had already left school before becoming pregnant.

“Recent investment in family support, disadvantaged schools and education programmes will ensure that prospects will be better for both mother and child,” concluded Minister Mary Hanafin T.D.

(Note: Today’s launch took place at All Hallows College, Drumcondra, Dublin.)