• families' needs for special support;
  • maternity and child welfare clinics;
  • family work

Abstract  The purpose of this study was to describe public health nurses' views of the everyday problems of families and their needs for special support. Seventy-four nurses filled in a tripartite questionnaire. The needs varied by region and were seen in 4% to 23% of all families expecting a baby or with a child younger than 3 age in the nurses' clientele. Approximately one-third of the families were considered to have a pressing need for support. More than half of families (54%) had difficulties coping with parenthood and family structure, almost one-third (30%) with raising their children and with childcare, and nearly one-third (27%) with their social network. In 20% of the families, the parents experienced problems relating to their relationship as a couple; 20% of the families had problems connected to the children's development, growth, and health; and in 19% of the families, the parents had health problems. Special needs were also caused by the parents' use of alcohol (15%) and by disputes over the children's custody and visiting rights (7%). The information provided by the study can be used in developing clinical services and the family work supporting them.