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Support for lone parentsView all services

If you're bringing up a child on your own, do not be afraid to ask for help from friends and family. You may also find that other single parents are a good source of support.

blue and teal liverbird with baby in shell

Finding support as a lone parent

Being a lone parent or carer can be difficult and isolating, however long parent families make up over a quarter of all families with dependent children in the UK according to Gingerbread.

If you are a parent to a young child, register with your local Children's Centre to find out more about local services and groups and to meet other parents. 

To help manage time and resources as a long parent, it can be helpful to take up offers of help and support from others in your support system (if you have one). For example, you could:

  • accept help from relatives and friends willing to lend a hand for time out, babysitting and school runs - though it can be tempting to refuse, people rarely offer support if they don't genuinely want to help.
  • suggest a "swap" arrangement with the parent of your child's friend, so you take it in turns to look after each other's children
  • suggest a regular evening's babysitting by a trusted relative or friend
  • ask friends and relatives if they'd be happy to have your child stay overnight sometimes

If you do not know people locally, ask your health visitor what local groups are available in your area or contact Gingerbread, a charity for lone-parent families that can put you in touch with other parents in a similar situation and give you much needed support.

Co-parenting when you live apart

If you'd hoped to bring up your child as a couple, you may be feeling angry and hurt.

But as a lone parent, it's important to hide those feelings from your child and let them build their own relationship with their other parent.

It's usually better for children to see both parents regularly, even if you start new relationships. Of course this does not apply if your ex-partner is violent or abusive towards you or your child.

At first, you may find your child behaves badly when they come home after a visit. Playing up is one way they may let you know they're upset or confused about the situation.

Unless you think something bad may be happening on access visits, the best way to deal with this is to be reassuring and calm. In the end, your child will learn to look forward to visits and coming home.

You'll almost certainly need to talk about your own feelings. Try to find another adult to talk to.

Gingerbread has more advice on making arrangements for your children.

Benefits and child maintenance for single parents

Gingerbread offers free information packs for lone parents. They can also give you independent advice about benefits, housing and child maintenance problems.

If you cannot reach an agreement with the other parent about child maintenance arrangements, the government runs a statutory Child Maintenance Service that can arrange child maintenance on your behalf.

The Child Maintenance Service can collect maintenance payments from the paying parent and pass them on to the receiving parent.

It can also help you find the other parent if you do not know where they live, and help sort out any disagreements about parentage.

If you want to use the Child Maintenance Service, you'll need to contact them first. You can call them on 0800 988 0988. 

If you would like support with finding out which benefits you may be eligible for, please contact Citizen's Advice Liverpool - they can support you with a full benefits check and may be able to support with advice and applications. If you have a very young child or are pregnant, you will be able to access their Perinatal Service with a referral from a health professional.

If you need legal support, you can contact Vauxhall Law Centre for free legal advice.

Single parents with a disabled child

Looking after a disabled child on your own can be difficult, but lone parent carers can get support and financial help.

Try to include your child's other parent in their care, if possible. If your child needs any aids or adaptations around the home, you may be able to get a grant to help with the costs.

There are also a range of benefits you may be eligible for as the lone parent of a disabled child.

These include the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children, Universal Credit, and tax credits. If your child is 16 or over, they may be able to claim the Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

You can find more information on benefits and tax credits on the Contact website, or you can call the Gingerbread helpline for free on 0808 802 0925.

If you're a resident of Liverpool, you may find it helpful to register with LivPaC, Liverpool's Parent and Carer forum. They are a group of parents and carers of children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and they work with service providers to improve provision, whilst also empowering, supporting, and advising parents. They offer a range of courses in addition to their regular meetings. 

Liverpool's SEND Local Offer is the section of this website that deals with all things related to SEND. Explore this to find advice, information and services that might be helpful to your family.

Some charities and organisations issue grants to parents who have a child with a disability or long-term illness, such as Family Fund. Call Contact's free helpline on 0808 808 3555 for a list of these organisations.

Baby Basics: supporting vulnerable new mums

Freedom Church run a programme called Baby Basics, which is a volunteer-led project aiming to support new mothers who are struggling to meet the financial and practical burden of looking after a new baby. Baby Basics originated from The Kings Centre in Sheffield in 2009 and Freedom Church was delighted to start a service here in Liverpool in 2015. Baby Basics Liverpool is staffed by a committed team of volunteers.

Baby Basics provides much needed essentials and equipment to mothers and families who are unable to provide these items for themselves; particularly those from displaced people groups and those seeking asylum.

Working with midwives, health visitors and other professional groups to provide support directly where it is most needed, Baby Basics volunteers lovingly collect, sort and package a ‘Moses Basket’ of clothing, toiletries and essential baby equipment as an attractive gift to new mothers.

Get in touch.

Contact the Baby Basics Liverpool team using the form. You can also get in touch via the Facebook page.

Please read the following before getting in touch:

Referrals: Requests for support are made solely by health professionals or organisations (Midwife/Health Visitor/Childrens Centre/GP/Charity Support worker etc).

  • We primarily support newborns (0-3 months) but sometimes have items up to 1 year old.  

  • Donations: Please check our Facebook page for our weekly updated list of needs.  Email for the donation points for clothing, toys, toiletries, Moses baskets and blankets.  If you're offering a pram or cot, please email the address below. 

  • Contact: - our volunteers will reply as soon as possible.