Prospectiva (Jul 2020)

Analysis of Needs in Female-Headed Single Parent Families Who are Users of Primary Care Social Services in Spain

  • Celia María Fernández-Martínez,
  • Manuela Avilés-Hernández

Journal volume & issue
no. 30
pp. 145 – 173


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The purpose of this research is to identify the needs of female-headed single parent families who are users of Primary Care Social Services in Spain, as well as, the resources and support these women use to face their situation. The study is of an exploratory and synchronic nature. The units of analysis are the single mothers who are users of Primary Care Social Services and have children under the age of 18 or ones who are older but judicially incapacitated and/or in a situation of dependency. In methodological terms, the study is qualitative and local. A semi-structured in-depth interview was conducted with 10 women, who corresponded to the profile. The results indicate that the main needs they face are, in this order: economic, employment, conciliation and emotional adjustment. The support they receive from social protection systems is specific and insufficient, although it allows them to alleviate their circumstances at the specific moment in which they receive it. Informal support, especially from close relatives, is the resource that is providing the main response to their needs. The study shows the necessity of designing an integral family policy, adapted to the specific needs of these types of family. The paper presents various proposals for intervention, from the point of view of the interviewed women, protagonists of the diagnosed needs.