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  • Author or Editor: Laura Dewar x
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This is a mixed methods research project following the journeys of single parents required to work and care, without the support of ‘'critical worker’' education and childcare, through the COVID-19 crisis. The research examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including an analysis of the Labour Force Survey, and interviews with 40 single parents. Forty qualitative interviews with single parents in July–August 2020 were undertaken, to explore their experiences of working and caring during the early stages of the lockdown. These single parents were re-interviewed in January and February 2021, to explore their subsequent journeys and, in particular, whether and how concerns about job losses, changes to terms and conditions, and a decline in availability of childcare were realised. In this chapter, we will explore how single parents were combining working with caring for their children – often with reduced or no support – often, an ‘impossible balancing act’, with single parents making constant trade-offs between their work and caring responsibilities. In addition, mental health problems were prevalent, highlighting the unique challenges facing single parents, which have not been sufficiently accounted for in policy and guidelines developed in response to the pandemic.

Open access