Large families, in danger of extinction?

The Spanish Federation of Large Families works to give visibility and preserve the rights of families with more members.

Paloma López Campos-December 30, 2022-Reading time: 3 minutes
Large family

FEFN is the acronym for Federación Española de Familias Numerosas (Unsplash / Tyler Nix).

The Spanish Federation of Large Families (FEFN) has been working for years to give visibility, inform and fight for the rights of families with more children. Due to legislative initiatives, politicians' statements and current trends of thought, it is easy to realize that families, especially large families, are going through a complicated situation.

Following the change in the denomination of large families, now considered "families with greater needs for parenting support", the debate has been rekindled. In this interview, a representative of the Federation talks about the difficulties, and also the positive changes, that are taking place in Spain related to this issue.

What is the biggest challenge facing large families today?

If we talk about the daily life of a large family, we would highlight two major challenges, one is the conciliation, and two, the economic issue, since prices are skyrocketing, the shopping basket has become very expensive in basic necessities, and also basic household supplies: electricity, gas, etc.. In addition, these two issues are linked together because when you have many children, to meet all the needs, you need two salaries at home and if the father and mother both work outside the home, it is difficult to reach everything, the reconciliation is very complex. In any case, in spite of all the difficulties, with effort and giving up things, in the end you get to everything or at least to what is important and, in return, there are many positive things when you have a large family.

How is the large family considered by public bodies in Spain?

The large family in Spain does not have all the recognition it should have. It is true that in recent years, thanks to the associative movement, associations and the Federation of Large Families, progress has been made on some issues, but our country still does not sufficiently value the family and, in particular, those who have more children; it is not recognized that they are a social asset. Just now a new Family Law is being drafted which aims to improve support for the family with some positive measures, but it does not focus on the birth rate, which is a fundamental issue, and neither does it focus on the families that have more children. 

What is your opinion on the draft bill in which the Government "classifies" families?

The Law is positive on some issues, such as conciliation and the desire to improve support for a greater number of families, but in the case of large families we feel a little attacked because it proposes the elimination of the concept of large family, which will be replaced by the concept of "families with greater needs for child-rearing support", which will include large families and families with fewer children and special circumstances. We believe that support should be given to the families that need it most, but without neglecting the recognition and protection of large families for what they contribute to society. It seems to us that the Law undervalues this social contribution made by large families.  

What measures have you suggested for the Family Law?

We are asking for a review of the benefits for large families, first of all that the Large Families Law be updated because it is obsolete in some aspects; also that the special category that families with 5 children now have be established as of 4 children, given the low birth rate that exists nowadays. We have also asked that there be proportionality in the benefits and in the requirements of the aids, that is to say, that at the time of setting the amounts of income limits, the "per capita income" be taken into account, because a large family must have a higher income and if the family composition is not taken into account, we are left out of many aids because we exceed income thresholds that are very low. And the same with the days of childcare leave: if a family has 5 days of leave per year for one child, a family with 4 children cannot also have 5 days of leave per year, because they have more children and their care needs are greater. All children count, they all eat, they all go to school, they all have to be taken to the doctor, etc. but it seems that the administrations forget half of our children.

What interests of large families are currently at risk?

Right now, due to the new Law, the very recognition of large families is in danger, as they will cease to be called large families and will therefore cease to exist for these purposes, if the new Law on Families as it is proposed is approved. For this reason, we are making allegations and asking for the support of the political groups so that it does not go ahead and we have also started a signature campaign against this change that the Government wants to make. We have already collected 15,000 signatures and we know that there are many families who do not agree with what the new law proposes. All the families who are against and want to save the concept of large family can sign here:

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