For over 50 years, CSMC has supported single mothers and advocated for change.
Single mothers are incredibly determined and resilient. They find a way, despite often overwhelming physical, emotional and financial challenges.
Starting with a group of dedicated volunteers who delivered significant progress for single mothers through evening meetings while their children played together, CSMC has both flourished and struggled over the past 50 years to deliver practical support to single mother families and advocate for change.
Today we are a professional organisation with paid staff and volunteers – still all women who are or have been single mothers.
1970s - Our Begnnings
The seventies was a time of change for women with campaigns for equal pay and equal rights, women’s shelters and an end to violence. Single mothers were right in there. As the Single Mothers Branch of Parents without Partners , single mothers lobbied the Commonwealth Social Security Minister for the widow’s pension to be extended
1980s - Expansion
In 1981, the Scarlett Letter became a broadsheet newsletter and addressed issues such as rape, domestic violence, child abuse, health and poverty – issues which, until then, had been discussed in hushed tones or swept under the carpet.
1990s - Reform and Change
Single mothers receiving the pension had always had to prove that they were really single. Then, in 1989, the Government added ‘de facto relationship’ to the criteria used to determine a single mother’s eligibility – and things got a lot murkier.
2000s - Further Advocacy
In 2006, the Federal Government introduced the ‘Welfare to Work’ reforms. CSMC members knew immediately these were unlikely to be positive as, under the revised tax system, employment had actually led to greater entrenched poverty for single mothers.