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.
U.S. House Rep. and single mother of three Katie Porter is critical about a proposed tax credit that would actually benefit married couples over single parents. President Joseph Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan would provide federal funding for parents raising children, but Porter takes umbrage with the very structure of the credit itself. She and others in Congress are pushing for an “identical income threshold for married and single parents of $150,000 adjusted gross income.” She added, “This change would avoid imposing a discriminatory single parent penalty that is counter to the purposes of this legislation.” Follow #singleparentpenalty on social media for more on this issue as it develops.
Canadians have been using “bubbles” to remain connected to friends and families during the pandemic. Essentially, these bubbles are groups that individuals create in which they agree to associate with only those in that bubble. This approach has managed to control the infection and death rates of COVID-19 in Canada. The Quebec government in Montreal recently expanded its rules on bubbles that benefited single parents, in particular, by allowing them to “bubble up” with another family “on the condition of forming a stable group.”
Using bubbles to control the pandemic may seem like government overreach to some, but could this tactic be working? Let’s take a look at the numbers, shall we? As of February 22, 2021, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada was 3,116 and in the United States, 70,281, according to Our World in Data, a scientific online publication that focuses on large global problems.
Private schools in Dehli, India, are required to reserve around 25 percent of the seats in their schools for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. To qualify for these few seats, they use a point system as part of their admission criteria. Many private schools have expanded the groups eligible for points. For example, Goodwill Public School in Uttam Nagar has offered 15 points for children of single parents; this year, it offered 10 points for “COVID-affected people.” Following suit, Rose Valley Public School in Nangloi is providing 10 points for “war victims/corona victims” and Mata Daan Kaur Public School, 10 points for children of so-called “Covid fighters,” namely police, doctors and health care workers.
The National One Parent Family Alliance is demanding that the Irish government take action to help single parents, also referred to as lone parents, who have been hit disproportionately hard during the pandemic. The lockdowns have left single parents grappling with keeping their jobs, managing child care and home-schooling, paying for their rent and heat.
NOPFA, which is an alliance of nine organizations, has requested that government officials take 10 urgent actions. Among them are a “temporary increase in the fuel allowance, a discretionary utility debt fund, and a top-up income support for the poorest children to help families with the additional costs associated with home-schooling.” A major action item was ensuring access to child care so that single parents can return to work and not worry about the safety of their children.
Malaysia has instituted movement control orders of varying degrees since the pandemic began throughout the country. The first MCO from March to May in 2020 carried sterner restrictions than the second MCO, which began in January 2021. Among them was allowing only one person from a household to shop in a grocery store, making it difficult for single parents with young children in tow. MalayMail followed three single mothers from the first MCO to the second one and how the restrictions affected them and their children.
The accounts have a universal appeal, the stresses and anxieties the parents detail have been echoed throughout the world. The single mothers describe turning to family, friends and neighbors for assistance when their children’s schools and child care centers closed and they had to work. One mother stressed the importance of testing; for her babysitter to enter the mother’s condominium, the babysitter had to pass a COVID-19 test. Without the test, the mother would have been unable to support her family. Another mother described the availability of food in grocery stores, now that people are not buying food in such large quantities as they did at the beginning of the pandemic. She also has been relieved that the second MCO allows two people from a household in a grocery store; before that change, she and her child endured disapproving stares. Each mother voiced concerns over their children’s intellectual, emotional and social development. Like so many parents, these mothers must confront the sacrifices they and their children must make and have faith that some sense of normalcy will return in the coming year.
The Tokyo District Court upheld Japan’s long-held single-parent custody system, declaring that this system for divorced couples is constitutional. The case was brought by a father who lost custody of his children after his divorce and claimed that he was denied equality under the law. In the ruling, the court said that the relationship between the child and parent can continue despite the custody arrangement and that the current custody system takes into account the majority of cases where parents do not have positive and productive relationships after a divorce. Oftentimes, former spouses have threatened and actually killed their spouses because of the stigma associated with divorce. One of the judges did recommend a discussion into joint child custody but no movement has been made on the issue.
Lawmakers in Billings are getting pushback from single mothers and advocacy groups over a bill that would tie food stamps to participation in Montana’s child support program. A similar bill was vetoed in 2019. Proposed by Republican lawmakers, the bill would require cooperation with this program in order for single parents to be eligible for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
The lawmakers insisted that this bill would help pull single parents and their children out of poverty, but the objections painted a different reality that would be threatened if this bill was enacted into law. Montana Women Vote representative S.J. Howell described how some custodial parents agree that the noncustodial parent will provide child care rather than money because they don’t have any money for child support. A victim advocate mentioned an abusive relationship that would have escalated if the abuser had to cooperate with the state’s child support program. Other opponents pointed to the burden this bill would place on grandparents, who would need to navigate a complicated bureaucratic system rather than work out a simpler arrangement with their adult children. “I think it is especially cruel that a bill such as this would be introduced during a pandemic when instead of finding ways to kick people off of assistance, we should be finding ways to help them,” said Danielle Vazquez of the Indigenous Organizers Collective of Montana.
On Thursdays, I share a blog about a day in the actual life of a single parent. Every fourth Thursday, instead of a personal post, I put together one where I assemble news on and about single parents nationally and globally.
I would love to hear from you! Feel free to send any comments and questions to me at email@example.com. I am also on Twitter @parentsonurown and can be found by searching #singleparentandstrong.