Many offers for single parents are unknown

Thursday, 17.11.16 , written by Cora Christine Döhn Single parents often find it particularly difficult to structure their everyday lives. The state, organizations and associations therefore offer a range of support options for them. While counseling services are widely used, one-parent families are not well aware of financial benefits, says Regine Schefels from the Berlin Advisory Council on Family Issues. >

Interview mit Regine Schefels

Regine Schefels, Head of the Berlin Advisory Board for Family Affairs

Many single-parent families have money worries as well as chronic lack of time. Because especially when the children are small, many single parents can not pursue full-time employment. It is all the more important for them that they know about any financial relief from the state . But that’s not the case, says Regine Schefels from the Berlin Advisory Council on Family Issues. Many single parents know cafés with child care and counseling services for the social situation. However, many financial benefits are unknown to them . Regina Schefels explains how this can change in the interview.

There are numerous support options for single parents. Which offers are particularly used and needed?

Regine Schefels: We can only talk about single parents in Berlin. Here parents know most of our offers very well. One-parent families, for example, visit activities in family centers and receive advice from various providers, such as the Association of Single Mothers and Fathers (VAMV) or SHIA eV Many parents mainly use the counseling services on the social situation . In the area of ​​psychosocial support , we also see a great need. In addition to these offers, there are networking opportunities, such as informal meetings, excursions or open cafés with childcare. In Berlin, such events are always well attended.

At the moment, we are very curious about how much the demand for flexible child care for single parents in Berlin is in demand. A model project has recently started in Berlin.

What about the financial benefits? Do single-parent families make as much use of it as the support they provide?

Regine Schefels: We find that many single parents are not adequately informed about specific benefit entitlements. This opinion is shared by the self-help initiative Single Mothers SHIA eV: They find that single parents are not informed comprehensively enough about what they are entitled to. Often, single parents are advised to make an application for specific benefits without knowing exactly what they are promised. We thus get the impression that single parents, whether it comes to a consultation in the job center, the youth welfare office or elsewhere, are not well informed about their claims for benefits .

That should change in our opinion. For this, more personnel would be needed in the first place. In addition, staff should be specially trained and provided for the needs and circumstances of lone parenting.

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What support is missing for single mothers and fathers?

Regine Schefels: One-parent families who are single parents over a long period of time and work at the same time are relieved of supportive offers. Especially the women who work in precarious areas or work in shifts usually have little financial leeway. In their mid-30s or early 40s they are often “exhausted” and face burn-out. For this group, it would also be necessary to provide childcare services for health prevention as well. Then they could socialize and have time for themselves again.

The extended advance on maintenance is expected to provide financial relief to single parents who do not receive maintenance from the other parent from 2017 onwards. How could this change affect the daily lives of single parents?

Regine Schefels: The extension of the advance on child support primarily means more financial security for single parents. With a “secure” advance on maintenance, you have more money available for a longer period of time. Previously, single parents were always under pressure, “what do I do when the performance is eliminated.” Fortunately, this concern is now falling from her shoulders.

Thank you for the interview, Mrs. Schefels.