On 4th October 2022 COFACE Families Europe, rEUsilience impact partner, hosted a European expert meeting on the effectiveness of family policies to address the realities of single parent families. Single parenthood, like any family type, is not a homogenous block and covers different realities: headed by mothers, fathers, and even by a grandparent raising their grandchildren, having one child or being a large family, being from a migrant background, having a child or parent with disabilities. According to a recently commissioned European Parliament study, single parenthood is becoming more common in the EU, and the majority of single parent households are headed by women. For some people, single parenthood is a choice. But for many it is not, and linked to a series of life events they have not chosen.
The context for these discussions was the increasing pressure on families as safety nets to ensure smooth transitions through various crises and transitions (COVID-19, economic inflation, energy price increases and more) and what actions and policies contribute to their resilience in such situations.
Rense Nieuwenhuis, rEUsilience co-lead, spoke at the expert meeting on the effectiveness of family and social policies to help single parents in the EU, exploring how single parents experience poverty and deprivation to a far larger extent than two-parent families, despite progress in education, employment, shared care with fathers. He reflected on the reasons for their poverty risks not declining by examining three policy areas: policies for single-parent families, policies for all families with children, and finally social policies for all (families).
Finally, the COFACE Administrative Council (representing family organisations in 16 EU countries) met with Rense Nieuwenhuis, for an exchange about the rEUsilience project aims and objectives, discussing the scope and policy relevance at EU and national level.
To dive further into the situation of single parents in the EU, here is the study conducted by Rense Nieuwenhuis for the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee.