Notes on Sole Parents - Community and Family Studies

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GROUPS IN CONTEXT - Sole Parents Legal Definition: Sole means exclusive. Sole care, it is considered, means full and unshared responsibility for the physical care and upbringing of the child. Characteristics: * According to the Australian Community Survey (ACS) most single parents are separated or divorced (45%), or never married (42%). The remaining 13% belongs to parents that have been widowed. * Most single parents are under 50 years of age, with 31% being aged 20–29 years, 21% are aged 30–39 years and 25% are aged 40–49 years. * Majority of single parents are women (63%) * Sole parents usually have a low income. Specific Needs of Sole Parents Access to Services * The services that the single parent needs will depend on how many children they have and the age of the children. These services may include childcare, schools, public transport. * Parents that have a child with a chronic illness will need access to different resources like health professionals and therapists. * Other services may include legal aid, financial services and women’s refuge. Education: * The age at which a person becomes a sole parent will influence their education and the child’s education. * For young sole parents it is important that they complete their education in order to get a well paid job. * Some schools have programs for pregnant students- Plumpton High School in Western Sydney and Dale School for young mothers in Newcastle. Employment: * For many sole parents finding employment can be difficult if childcare support networks such as friends/ family or day care service are not readily available. * Those who do rely on long-term employment rather than on welfare tend to have more choices in regard to health, education and lifestyle. * Employment also provides a sense of belonging and enhances self esteem. *
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