Providing essential specialist support for single mothers and their children

Council of Single Mothers and their Children Inc.

Supported beneficiary groups within Women & Girls
Age Demographic
Adults - aged 25 to under 65
Project Focus
Project Area

Project Description

Single mothers turn to CSMC at their times of greatest need and for ongoing support from our expert frontline staff on a wide range of issues.

The cost-of-living crisis has heightened demand for our specialist services and emergency relief beyond our current capacity. Expansion of the Contact Worker team will enable provision of support to more families.

Our timely and specialised support can be a circuit breaker and enhance capacity to self-advocate, if we can meet demand. Emergency relief applications serve as a valuable entry point for accessing CSMC’s support. If desired, women can join CSMC’s network of single mother members for wellbeing, reduced social isolation and advocacy.

Single mother families in Victorian are very diverse. What single mothers share is resilience and a dedication to providing their children with a good life and a bright future.

Other commonalities are that single-mother-headed households are the poorest families in Australia, with 37% living below the poverty line, compared to 10% of couple families. 60% have experienced family violence. Many single mothers are living with a disability and/or raising a child with a disability.

The ongoing cost-of-living crisis is deepening existing disadvantages, posing a risk of perpetuating them across generations. More women in paid employment are seeking support for the first time.

In 2022-23, CSMC supported 4600 single mothers, a 73% increase over 2021-22, and need has since escalated.

Expected Outcomes

The immediate objective is to respond to expanded service demand arising from the continued cost-of-living and housing affordability crises. Additional staffing for our frontline services will ensure that women calling our services are provided with timely, tailored, and holistic support.

Single mothers and services that support them can contact the Support Line via email, telephone, Messager or webform. Families are provided with individualised, wraparound support that explores their intersecting needs, along with specialist information and referrals, and are empowered to undertake continued self-advocacy.

Contact Workers provide support on diverse issues including parenting solo, government benefits, child support, housing, short- and long-term recovery from family violence, and employment and education opportunities.

Single mothers are referred to CSMC by other community service and our Support Workers connect women to local services. The continued expansion of our networks of referring services, ensures availability of our specialist services to workers in sectors such as housing, family violence or financial counselling, so they can better support single mother service users by referring them to CSMC for expertise outside their field and for current and future engagement with our ongoing supports.

Our long-term goal is to reach 10,000 single mother families a year to provide support and connect them to one another.

Project Data & Lessons

The impact and reach of the additional resourcing is measured with a number of tools.

Outputs (contact numbers) are used to track increases in our reach, the source and demographics of our service users and repeat utilisation of our services.

Impact measurement informs our continuous improvement of service delivery. A brief impact measure survey is sent to willing service users to measure their response to our service provision, which asks three questions for response on a Likert scale and collects demographic information.

Impact measurement findings from 2022-2023 provide our baseline:

  • 89% of single mothers felt more supported or able to manage their issues after accessing our services
  • 95% felt they were provided with useful information and referrals
  • 94% would recommend our service to others - Net Promoter Score: 80%.


Our social media and website traffic growth is tracked as a measure of growth in our reach in number and geographic location.

Project Dates

Our core service delivery is underfunded and critically needed by single mothers.

Funding Details

Funding Needed
Current Funding
Total Project Costs
Approved Tax Deductability Status
Approved Tax Concession Charity
Other Funding Sources
Waiting on funding confirmed (due mid June, so any day)
Other Support Opportunities
Impact investment, In-kind contributions, Pro bono services, Subsidies

Organisation Details

Council of Single Mothers and their Children Inc.
ABN: 28796387679


Jenny Davidson
Phone: 0407697976

About Council of Single Mothers and their Children Inc.

Council of Single Mothers and their Children Inc. (CSMC) is a non-profit organisation founded in 1969 by single mothers to secure a better life for women parenting alone and their children. We achieve change by championing the agency, rights and needs of single mothers and their children and providing specialist support services.

CSMC provides:

  • Over 3000 supports to single mothers with specialist information, financial aid, advocacy and tailored referrals to assist them to secure basic human rights such as financial security, affordable housing, family-friendly work and education opportunities, legal protection, and safety, health and wellbeing for themselves and their children
  • Holistic specialist pre-employment support through our Bloom program
  • Participation in our community of 5700 single mother members, through free membership.
  • Accurate information and resources to single mothers, allies and community organisations, the media and research partners.


CSMC also advocates to overturn social and economic disadvantages faced by single mothers and raise the status of single mothers and their children, working with government and community.

CSMC envisions a society that ensures social and economic inclusion for all single mothers and their children, across their lives.

All CSMC staff, board and volunteers have lived experience of being a single mother.

Related Projects

The Royal Women's Hospital

Improving access to abortion in regional Victoria

Access to timely abortion care remains a challenge, especially for women from vulnerable groups and those living in rural and regional areas. This project aims to reduce barriers by...
The Social Outfit

Thrive Through Employment

Each year up to 16 young refugee, asylum seeker and new migrant women will be engaged in The Social Outfit’s Retail Training Program. Recruited via our partner networks of settlement agencies, suitable trainee candidates are offered 3-months paid work-experience, one...
Women's Community Shelters

Help us build an Australia where women and children are safe, secure, supported and equal

Women’s Community Shelters (WCS) is a DGR1 charity, registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission. Our mission is to work with local communities to establish new crisis accommodation shelters for women and children who are homeless or leaving domestic...
Humanitarian Health Research Initiative at the The Australian National University

Sierra Leone Safe Delivery Program

One in 17 women die during childbirth in Sierra Leone. This is devastating for families. The death of a mother has repercussions for the entire community. The vast majority of maternal deaths are preventable, but a lack of qualified health...