Some of the news articles about single parents described and linked to in this post are clearly inspiring but others may surprise and alarm you. They aspire to broaden our perspective and understanding of single parents and their experiences worldwide.
If you have trouble getting to these links, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send PDFs of them to you.
A major change to a government income support program is making it difficult for single parents to secure housing in Australia. The ParentsNext program helps parents prepare for employment in time for their youngest child’s first day of school. Now, participation is compulsory, meaning certain qualifications must be met, a program change that went into effect in 2021. If a parent fails to meet a requirement, such as signing a participation plan or going to appointments, he or she could lose this monthly income. These conditions may not seem unreasonable at face value. It’s not uncommon for state and federal programs to have requirements to determine an individual’s eligibility. However, single parents rely on this financial assistance, or welfare, to help them secure housing, particularly in the rental market, which has become competitive and expensive. Because these ParentNext program payments are not fixed, many renters and rental agencies are rejecting applications filed by single parents. They view single parents as a risk they are not willing to take when they can sign on more financially stable individuals. Sian Stirling, a single mother, had this to say about being a single parent in search of housing:
“I think there’s a certain stigma towards single parents. We get looked at differently because we’ve got one income which doesn’t seem as secure anymore.”
Nearly 100 percent of the program’s participants are women, of those around 80 percent are single mothers.
Missouri’s child support, past-due payment backlog is indicative of a stressed — or dysfunctional — system, leaving many single-parent households in financial distress and poverty. Of the state’s nearly 306,000 child support accounts, around 190,000 of them, or 62 percent, have unmet payments. Single mom Brandie Coxson described the importance of child support in caring for her son:
“It could pay for one week of day care and then an extracurricular activity for the month. It could pay for a new pair of shoes … . I could buy $200 worth of groceries. I have already downsized my life because even on a nurse’s salary, I can’t afford … everything.”
Unfortunately, this situation reflects a disturbing trend throughout the United States. Custodial parents were owed $113 billion as of October 2020, a modest drop in arrears from $117 billion in February 2020, according to the U.S. Office of Child Support Enforcement. Less than half of custodial parents receive their full payments with the remaining parents collecting some or no money from noncustodial parents, according to the latest U.S. Census data. States are responsible for the distribution of child support that exists to serve the best interest of the child, and in the case of Missouri, the staffing is insufficient to address parents’ concerns — and the growing backlog. Each child support specialist in the Show Me State carries more than 800 cases!
Single mothers play a pivotal role in their children’s health care and specifically whether they are vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. This responsibility involves single mothers caring for children who experience side effects from the vaccine. Unfortunately, the availability and amount of paid sick leave for these situations depend on the employer and type of work. For example, a waitress may not have paid time off whereas an attorney will. The KFF survey upon which this article is based also examines how mothers and fathers perceive the COVID-19 vaccine and how the vaccination process disproportionately affects people of color.
Many single parents who are residents in South Korea and have children born there are struggling to stay in the country and raise their children. Without citizenship, they cannot tap the country’s many social welfare benefits that help build strong families. To obtain this citizenship, the Ministry of Justice requires that they must live in South Korea for two years before applying, complete a Korean Immigration Integration Program course, pass a citizenship test, and — here’s the clincher — have a stable income and a certain amount of assets. Hwang Sun-young, head of Global Unite, a Seoul-based group supporting single parents of foreign nationality, describes the absurdity of this situation:
“The vast majority of foreigners who have divorced their Korean spouses are in urgent need of long-term social welfare support, due to their financial difficulties and unstable legal status. But in order to stabilize their situation by obtaining citizenship, they have to prove that they can live without any government aid.”
Understanding the Korean language is critical to obtaining citizenship, but many migrants spent their time caring for their children rather than learning the country’s language. With so many obstacles facing this group of single parents, the Ministry of Justice has been pursuing changes that do not allow for an abuse of the system.
I included this article because it was speaking directly to single mothers and their unique considerations and the purchase of new and used vehicles is expected to increase substantially in 2021. This guide serves as a basic primer for navigating the insurance industry — without pulling any punches. Basically, single parents pay higher rates than married couples, but shopping around for a good deal can help reduce costs. Single parents also should be careful to not pay so much less that they compromise their coverage. Adding a teen driver to your coverage should be a cost addressed in your custody agreement. And as always, single parents should ask about any cost-reducing deals, such as a discount for teens who ears good grades. The article explores additional concerns such as paying your premiums in full and selecting a vehicle for your teen.
On Thursdays, I share a blog about a day in the actual life of a single parent.
Starting the summer of 2021, my son, Joseph, is writing a monthly column titled In My Son’s Words where he describes his experiences as a teenager and as a child of a single parent.
Twice a month, instead of a personal post, I put together one where I assemble news on and about single parents nationally and globally.