The purpose of the study was to develop a profile of lone parents in County Cavan and in particular to document the barriers they face in seeking to take up education, training or employment opportunities.
The research was funded by the NDP Gender Equality Unit of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. It was managed by a local steering committee made up of statutory agencies, community groups and a lone parent representative.
The study used both qualitative and quantitative methods to gather a range of data. Fourteen lone parents acted as data collectors for the project. They designed a survey and organised ‘discussion groups’ in different areas of the county. The target group for the research was anyone who had experience of being a lone parent. Lone parents were invited to participate in the research through direct mail, word of mouth, local posters, and media advertisements.
Over a hundred lone parents responded to the survey, the vast majority of whom (97%) were women. Two thirds were aged between 20 and 40. Ten per cent were foreign nationals. Three quarters of respondents had one or two children. Most respondents had children of school going age, while sixteen people had children aged 0-3. Half of the respondents were living in local authority accommodation, and one quarter were owner occupiers. Most were living with their children and not with anyone else, although seventeen people were also living with their parents.