New report outlines concerns that single mothers/children will be forced back to poverty

New report outlines concerns that single mothers/children will be forced back to poverty

by Freya Lucas

September 17, 2020

The role that affordable, high-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) plays in supporting children growing up in families led by single mothers has been highlighted in a new report from social justice organisation Brotherhood of St. Laurence ahead of upcoming changes to the coronavirus supplement, expected to impact 1.1 million Australian children. 


Prior to the initiation of the supplement, single mothers and their children experienced higher rates of poverty than any other household type in Australia, with the new report showing that low-income single mothers and their children “continue to be caught in the binds of poverty and insecurity, with limited choices and opportunities”.


“Women and children need strong foundations: stable, safe and affordable housing; affordable good quality child care; decent and inclusive employment; flexible access to education and training; and a fair social security system,” the authors argue. 


The year long qualitative research study Trampolines, not traps outlines the lived experiences of many single mothers, who shared details about missing meals to allow for children to eat, or in finding extra work to support their social security payments. 


“Many of the women that we interviewed reported high levels of stress and anxiety as they were constantly worrying about money, budgeting and working out how to pay their bills,” says Dina Bowman, Principal Research Fellow at the Brotherhood of St. Laurence.


The study highlights what authors termed “the structural inequality” that has hit single parent families so hard, and will continue to do so once the supplement is removed. It also gives voice to women’s experiences of being caught between work, care and welfare.


To review the findings in full, please see here