CSMC achieves change by championing the voices and needs of single mother families and by providing specialist services that support women parenting alone.
Call our support line on 03 9654 0622 1300 552 511 if you are outside Melbourne Monday to Friday 9.30am – 3.00pm or email firstname.lastname@example.orgCSMC receives funding from the Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET) to provide telephone support, information and referrals to single mothers and their children throughout Victoria.
The history of CSMC is vibrant, with some significant triumphs and plenty of challenges (just like single motherhood!). You can read more of our fascinating story in our book Single but not alone but here are our highlights:
1969 Having a child outside marriage carried a huge stigma that forced many women to relinquish their child to adoption. A group of women met and formed the ‘Single Mothers Branch of Parents without Partners’.
1970 The Council of the Single Mother and Her Child formed as a legally constituted self-help organisation.
1973 CSMC’s 3-year campaign for the Federal government to take over the welfare payments to single mothers on an equal basis with civilian widows was successful and the Supporting Mothers’ Benefit was finally available to single mothers. Number of children put up for adoption dropped dramatically.
For the first time CSMC had funding and was able to employ staff.
1975 CSMC took action to abolish the illegitimate status of children born out of wedlock and to have any disputes involving ex-nuptial children moved to the Family Court, which resulted in legislative change in 1988.
1976 First national adoption conference held with most state governments responding positively to the resolutions arising from the conference.
1981 The Scarlet Letter was established as a broadsheet newsletter tackling a range of topics.
1982 Australian Relinquishing Mothers Society ARMS was formed.
1988 After a 14-year campaign by CSMC and NCSMC, Victoria, NSW, Tasmania and SA passed a bill that ensured illegitimate children had equal legal rights to legitimate children under the Commonwealth Family Law Act and Family Court. Queensland followed suit in 1990.
1989 The amalgamation of the Supporting Parents’ Benefit and the Widows’ Pension created the non-discriminatory Sole Parents Pension.
1992 CSMC constitution was changed to enable widowed, divorced or separated women parenting alone to become ordinary members.
1992 CSMC ran a phone-in for single mothers to tell their experiences of renting accommodation and as a result, developed the Tenancy Advocacy Kit.
1993 CSMC launched the ‘Home Alone’ campaign to challenge government expectations they would work and leave their children to do so.
1995 CSMC’s photographic exhibition Soaring Solo launched in Victoria and toured Australia.
1998 After years of fighting against cuts to income security, CSMC had most of its own funding cut and survived with the efforts of one part-time staff member and the Management Collective Chairperson. Together they secure new funding.
2001 The inaugural ‘Bread and Roses’ event celebrating single motherhood was held and continued until 2008.
2002 CSMC secured annual funding from the RE Ross Trust enabling the provision of emergency funds to single mother families, which continues today.
2004 CSMC supported single mothers who were targeted by the ‘Blackshirts’, a hate group that harassed women who left marriage. Their leader was found guilty of stalking but this period began a move toward emphasising ‘Christian family values’ and attacking single mother headed households.
Let’s Do Lunch groups began in local areas to bring single mothers together.
2005 CSMC held rural retreats and Mother’s Day camps annually for three years.
2006 CSMC Action group formed to respond to a raft of changes to child support, family law and income support arrangements. These changes made single mother families poorer, more vulnerable to abuse and violence, and required to engage in work and childcare arrangements that were often not in their best interests.
2008 The Protest Picnic demonstrated against poverty and the erosion of women and children’s rights.
CSMC Executive Officer attended a seminar in South Korea to help promote the cause of single mothers there.
2009 CSMC celebrated 40 years of fighting for single mother families.
2010-2017 CSMC continues to celebrate and support single mother families and address structural inequities face by single mothers and their children.