CaixaProinfancia Programme

Actions to transform and promote the development of children and of families facing social exclusion

1. Problem

Children from poor homes have worse academic results and, when they are adults, lower levels of income and worse health than children who grow up in homes without economic hardship

The child poverty level has settled  in Spain at around 29%, one of the highest percentages in the European Union, meaning that almost one third of Spanish children survive on 60% or less of the equivalent median income.

The percentage of children aflected by material deprivation has not fallen despite the recovery of the economy. Thus, almost 40% live in households that cannot aflord one week’s holiday a year.

In view of these data, studies show that concentrating social transfers in childhood is more eflicient to alleviate child poverty than channelling them to the entire population based on income.

2. Approach

The programme is introduced in a coordinated way with the public and the private stakeholders of the territory based on certain objectives for the children and their families

Organisations in territorial networks apply the various aids available in the programme in keeping with the workplan.

The families attended have a level of studies of primary school or lower in almost 80% of cases, and  a situation of unemployment close to 65%, with almost equal parts receiving or not receiving public benefits. Of these, almost half are single-parent families.

54% of the guardians were born abroad, while 83% of the children were born in Spain. 100% of the families are in a situation of poverty.

3. Results

The data show that the programme covers a large part of the territory and fulfils the objective of supporting families experiencing poverty

More than 300,000 children and 176,000 families are attended. 39% of the children attended are aged between 7 and 12, but children between 0 and 3 years of age account for 25%, a figure that highlights the importance of care at this age.

The aids oflered by the programme are divided in the following way: 42% on educational reinforcement; 27% on food and hygiene; 19% on leisure and free-time activities; 9% on psychotherapeutic care and 3% on educational support for the family. The average continuity in the programme is 3.8 years.

The aids are implemented through 180 territorial networks made up of more than 400 social associations reaching 129 Spanish municipalities in all the autonomous communities.

"la Caixa" Pro-Childhood Programme

Model to foster the comprehensive development of children in situations of poverty and social vulnerability.

Jordi Riera Romaní Vice Chancellor of Academic Policy. Ramon Llull University

1. Problem

Sometimes, schools alone are not enough to break the cycle of inherited poverty, nor to guarantee equality of opportunities.

Diverse national and international reports confirm the impact that inequality and chronic poverty have on educational and social development during childhood and adolescence. One of these reports, specifically, Low-Performing Students: Why They Fall Behind and How To Help Them Succeed (January 2016), from the OECD, argues that in Spain, 40% of students from disadvantaged families have levels so low in mathematics that they do not achieve basic proficiency, in contrast to 8% of students from more advantaged households. Similar results occurs with reading and science.

In other words, students' family and socioeconomic contexts  determine their performance in the education system, consolidating a vicious circle of low performance that leads to school failure and early school leaving.

2. Approach

"la Caixa" Pro-Childhood Programme adopts a comprehensive approach to the education of children and adolescents both within and outside of the school system.

The methodological axis around which the "la Caixa" Foundation Pro-Childhood Programme, which serves 60,000 children and adolescents and 40,000 families in situations of poverty and risk of exclusion, revolves, is that education generates opportunities and integrates multiple dimensions and that all educational agents share joint responsibility

The programme provides support to families, children and adolescents based on an interdisciplinary, intersectorial and interprofessional approach, with the aim that the groups it supports to aspire to achieve the highest levels of education and training.

The main objective is to combat school failure, and this is done through educational reinforcement at the group and individual level and both inside and outside the school. The programme organises workshops that help parents develop parenting skills and channel their concerns about the education of their children, which results in an improvement in family coexistence and relations.

3. Results

Recent data indicate that we are heading in the right direction and encourage us to expand this model of local social and educational networks.

If we take into account that 30% of students from low socioeconomic backgrounds do not complete compulsory secondary education (approximately 3 of every 10 of these students leave school before finishing compulsory secondary education), among  students from this group that receive support through networks sponsored by the "la Caixa" Pro-Childhood Programme, the rate declines to 6.3%. Another significant result is that if the average for school success in compulsory secondary education for students from vulnerable situations and low socioeconomic levels is 51%, among those students that benefit from support from the Pro-Childhood Programme, this percentage climbs to 77%.

In short, these are very promising results, which encourage us to continue to strengthen this model of local social and educational networks as an action strategy, with a clear committment to supporting educational and social change in our society.

Source: Own production based on data from the OECD, the National Institute for Educational Assessment (INEE) and the Adsis and Jaume Bofill foundations.

Incorpora Programme

Incorpora is a socio-occupational integration programme that promotes the occupational integration of people in a situation of or at risk of social exclusion

Rosa Suñol, director
Instituto Avedis Donabedian – UAB

1. Problem

The destruction of employment is considerable in Europe, but in Spain it has been especially intense and has largely affected young people.

Among the structural weaknesses that influence this phenomenon prominent is the high rate of early school leaving, the polarisation of the labour market, the low relative weight of post-secondary vocational training and the difficult access to the labour market for groups at risk of social exclusion.
It is necessary to add to these risk factors those of a socioeconomic type: living in an unfavourable environment, having no income, being a victim of possible situations of abuse, etc. Specifically, among the young people attended to by the Incorpora Programme in 2016, we observe that 9.4% suffer from an intellectual disability; 5.6%, physical disability; 4.3% su¬ffer a mental disorder; 5% are young people in care or previously in care; 5.1% have been deprived of freedom, and 24% belong to the young immigrant population.

2. Approach

Joint work between the organisations in a single territory favours the socio-occupational integration of young people at risk of social exclusion.

It is carried out through a network of 380 organisations that work hand in hand to facilitate employment opportunities. The Programme offers a broad list of services for young people that includes:

1. SERVICES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE: comprehensive assessment, design of individual career path, with the opportune mentoring. It also includes 150 Incorpora training points and 42 support points for self-employment.

2. SERVICES FOR COMPANIES: support is provided for the exercising of corporate social responsibility, pre-recruitment processes, monitoring of incorporation, advice, training and work experience according to the needs of companies. Shortly, through a programme co-funded by the European Social Fund, direct subsidies to companies for hiring young people will be facilitated.

3. Results

The results indicate that a good mentoring programme for young people influences the effectiveness of the occupational integration process.

During the year 2016, the Incorpora Programme attended to 22,473 young people, of whom 7,003 achieved occupational integration (31.2%). A total of 8,359 integrations and 174 self-employment initiatives. Some 47% of employment contracts went to women and the average duration of the contracts was between one and three months. Among the main areas of activity, worthy of highlight are catering and commerce (41.5%), unskilled young workers in services (17.2%) and labourers (13.1%). Some 16% of these young people presented a disability.
After ten years that the Incorpora Programme has been running, there are many challenges that have been tackled to give a response to a dynamic and changing reality in the field of occupation for young people.

Source: In-house production based on data from the ”la Caixa” Foundation Incorpora Programme online platform (data from 1 January to 31 December 2016), and on the Incorpora Model of Socio-Occupational Integration of ”la Caixa” Foundation, published in 2016.


A programme that transfers innovative health research results to society by promoting the creation of companies, products and services.

Roger Gomis ICREA Researcher at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine Barcelona and founder of Inbiomotion, S.L.

1. Problem

It is necessary to equip researchers with the tools, knowledge and support that are essential for the results of their research to benefit society.

In recent years, growing competitiveness in science has been accompanied by an improvement in the innovation ecosystem. However, within the EU28, Spain is still lagging at the 20th position in innovation, according to the European Innovation Scoreboard (2016). The indicator for patents with effect in Europe, the United States and Japan, places Spain 26th out of all world countries, with three patents per million inhabitants, far below the averages for the EU (23.3) and the OECD (33.1).

With this scenario, a major need exists for programmes that strengthen innovation through mentoring and support for the transfer of technology with a social impact.

2. Approach

The CaixaImpulse programme seeks to transfer the results of innovative research projects in the health and medical sciences field to society.

Promoted by "la Caixa" Foundation and Caixa Capital Risc and with the collaboration of the European initiative EIT-Health, the programme’s aim is the creation of patents, licences, market services and spin-off companies. For projects selected through an open competition procedure, it offers financial aid of €70,000 along with a training, mentoring and advice service.

The key feature of CaixaImpulse is that it offers training in entrepreneurship to scientists generating knowledge and actors working in the technology transfer field. CaixaImpulse has also established a unique framework for interaction between scientists, the institutions that host them, financial investors and industry, in order to act as a catalyst for the creation of new enterprises based on cutting-edge knowledge.

3. Results

Through its first three calls for entries, CaixaImpulse has lent support to 58 projects. Among the participants in the first edition in 2015, two spin-off companies were founded and four patents awarded.

The subject areas were very diverse and included the development of medical devices, therapeutic compounds and diagnostic systems. They tackle medical challenges of major significance, such as the development of vaccines, the diagnosis of different types of cancer or rehabilitation from surgery. All are singular initiatives and have major transformative capabilities. Thus, the programme contributes towards bettering the innovation ecosystem, while promoting the improvement of people’s health.

The 2017 call for applications has been opened to research centres, universities, foundations and hospitals all over Spain and Portugal, but work is being carried out on expanding it to other countries which will make it a leading programme in Europe.


Jaume Colomer cultural management consultant, director of Bissap and associate professor at the UB

1. Problem

The performing arts do not usually form part of formal teaching programmes in Spain, therefore often remain on the fringes of the education system

Many experts defend the value of including artistic education in the successive phases of learning, especially theatre. Intervening in its practice are a series of factors of an instrumental, expressive and team-building nature that make theatre an ideal educational vehicle. In this sense, a study on the performing arts activities of Spanish schools concludes that 84% practise them and that, consequently, they are a habitual activity (regular or occasional, either during school hours or as an extracurricular activity). The main obstacles to performing arts activities are a lack of wiling and aptly- skilled teaching staff to organise them and the small amount of time staff are able to devote to them, a lack of suitable venues, school calendars overloaded with academic and sporting activities and scarce appreciation of their value by the rest of the educational community.

2. Approach

CaixaEscena offers an accessible website to help teachers build relations, with each other and with performing arts professionals. It also gives access to numerous theatrical resources

The methodology based on accompaniment offers resources to facilitate the task of teachers, to encourage their own involvement and the understanding of the rest of the educational community and to provide objective tools for evaluating the educational impact. It also offers workshops and meet-ups, and above all, enables the sharing of experiences with other centres, favouring interaction. In 2017, two pilot projects were undertaken; the first, with the Catalan Government’s Education department, provides support to 13 UEC (Alternative Education Unit) centres which, through theatre, aim to improve the school performance and the self-esteem of 130 young participants at risk of social exclusion. The second, in cooperation with the Social Area of ”la Caixa”, promotes theatre, community action and volunteering by older people at seven EspacioCaixa centres in different regions.

3. Results

The results indicate that a good programme of accompaniment for the teacher that offers access to artistic materials of quality has a positive impact on children and teenagers

Since 2006, 1,225 teachers, 45,000 young people and over 80 theatre professionals have participated in theatrical initiatives promoted by CaixaEscena. Nearly 40% of the projects choose to perform plays that are collectively and self-created, whereas the rest prefer to adapt classic works by playwrights such as Shakespeare, Calderón de la Barca and, in the case of Catalonia, Santiago Rusiñol. The area most consulted has been the one related to stage adaptation and playwriting, followed by musical and scenographic resources. Furthermore, a total of 38 online workshops have been held for teacher training in diverse subjects. Now the challenge is to objectively assess the effects of these theatrical practices in the curricular learning of young people, in the construction their personal values system and in the creation of cultural interests and habits.  

Elderly People’s Programme

A programme that helps to improve quality of life for elderly people, promoting their autonomy and social participation, especially in situations of greater vulnerability

Matia Instituto Gerontológico

1. Challenge

Living longer and better is excellent news but brings with it new and inevitable challenges to which society must respond, prominently including the future of care.

In 2014, the European Health Survey reported that 20.73% of people aged 65 and over have difficulties carrying out certain basic everyday life activities, with the percentage of people needing help increasing to 53.68% among people aged over 85 years.

Among people aged 65 and over, women have a greater life expectancy than men (23.4 against 19.2 years), but a lower healthy life expectancy (9.0 against 9.7 years).

In Spain, the percentage of people older than 65 years who live in single-person households increases through the ageing process, with 21.1% of men and 40.9% of women aged over 85 years eventually living alone. There are over 4.5 million people who care for others altruistically (with 15.5% of these carers being aged over 65 years) in addition to hundreds of thousands of household helps (majority of immigrant women).

2. Action

“Putting people first: caring as we would like to be cared for ourselves” is a participatory researchaction process relating to the future of care in Spain.

”la Caixa” Foundation, with the collaboration of the Matia Gerontological Institute, has launched various actions to study the opinions and social perceptions that exist relating to care and dependency in old age, through:

  1. An exhaustive review of the scientific bibliography that exists, as well as various international experiences in the world of care.

  2. A qualitative study on care in relations of dependency.

  3. A study with a sample of 4,784 people through an online questionnaire for professionals and carers on their opinions regarding responsibilities in care processes.

  4. Various in-depth interviews with academic experts, professionals and staff from the non-profit sector.

  5. Four sessions for reflection and debate in Girona, Malaga, Madrid and Bilbao.

3. Results

The “Putting people first: caring as we would like to be cared for ourselves” charter is the result of this wide-ranging process that aims to raise awareness regarding care that affects our lifestyles and coexistence.

“Putting people first and caring for them as we would like to be cared for ourselves” means we should:

  • Put ourselves in the place of others (whether the carer or the person receiving care).

  • Treat them with dignity and respect for their rights, which are the basis of good treatment.

  • Encourage their autonomy, respect their self-determination, maintain their responsibilities regarding their own lives and the right to receive support.

  • Encourage co-responsibility in care tasks.

  • Treat people taking into account not just their physical, but also their cognitive, emotional and spiritual needs, etc., all of which form the basis for comprehensive care.

  • Train, accompany and support carers, also in the dispensing of palliative care.

  • Encourage participation and raise the visibility of care.

"la Caixa" Foundation's Affordable Rental Programme

Four thousand homes for groups that especially need them

1. Problems

Access to decent housing, providing a base for the life projects of young people, families, and the elderly, is one of our society’s greatest concerns

To cover their vital needs and participate actively in society, every person needs access to decent housing. For young people, as they start forming their own home, housing will condition their emancipation and autonomy, which in turn will ultimately condition the population’s fertility rate. For families faced with the growth of their households, their housing will condition their access to work, education and social opportunities. And for elderly people, in the process of reduction of their households, housing quality will condition the quality of their ageing. 

Within the current context, with many people suffering difficulties in accessing housing due to socioeconomic reasons, all system agents can make a contribution to facilitate people’s lives. This idea led to the creation of the Affordable Rental Programme.

2. Approach

The Affordable Rental Programme offers quality housing at affordable prices, for young people, families and elderly people

The programme has identified these three collectives as priority groups with regard to affordable housing needs: people aged between 18 and 35 years, people aged over 65 years, and adults with children in their care. For these groups, five-year rental contracts are offered, at a rental rate below that established in the official Protection Programme and with a deposit equivalent to one month’s rent.

To be able to access the programme, it Is necessary to hold Spanish nationality or a permanent residency permit. Beneficiaries cannot be total or partial owners of any home. A minimum annual income is demanded, which according to the promotion ranges from 8,000 to 28,000 euros, and maximum income cannot exceed 4.5 times the value of the IPREM (Multiplier for the Public Income Index).

3. Results

Since 2005, this programme has benefited 10,565 people, including the contract principals and their corresponding household members

Since the programme’s launch, 4,000 homes have been rented under these conditions. The average rental price of each housing unit is 331 euros per month. The target audience is mainly young people: they represent 75% of the beneficiaries and have an average period of stay of 5.7 years. Meanwhile, elderly people make up 4% of users, with an average period of stay of 7.3 years. In relation to other socially vulnerable groups, a total of 45 people with reduced mobility or some degree of disability have been able to gain access to housing adapted to their needs.

In 2017, the last year for which consolidated data exist, 92 new flat rental contracts were signed and 766 pre-existing contracts were renewed for an extra three-year term.

Learning together, growing as a family

A psychoeducational programme with the focus on positive parenting

Nuria Fuentes-Peláez and Ainoa Mateos, coordinators Faculty of Education, University of Barcelona

1. Problems

Children’s quality of life and their personal and social adaptation depend, to a large extent, on the quality of the relationships established in their families

According to the European Union Recommendation Rec (2006)19, positive parenting respects children’s rights, since it is based on parents’ concern for the wellbeing and healthy development of their children. At the same time, the recommendation recognises the need for programmes to support parents in the exercise of positive parenting, backed by evidence-based professional resources.

Against this background, the year 2011 saw the launch of the psychoeducational programme “Learning together, growing as a family” within the CaixaProinfància framework programme of ”la Caixa” Foundation. The programme’s aim is to develop a harmonious family environment by promoting positive relationships between parents and children (aged 6 to 12 years).

2. Proposal

The educational process must be developed from the perspective of positive parenting: this is the principle that inspires the programme

The programme consists of eight modules that are delivered over 16 two-hour sessions. It is designed as an educational experience with three differentiated types of sessions: those aimed solely at parents, those aimed at the children, and those that bring together the whole family.

The programme objectives are as follows:

  1. Strengthen emotional bonds
  2. Encourage educational family relationships
  3. Develop family communication and organisation skills
  4. Foster relationships with the child’s school
  5. Promote shared leisure activities
  6. Provide resources to support the positive management of conflicts

3. Results

Evaluation of the six editions of the programme held to date confirms that it has been extremely effective in promoting positive changes, among parents and children alike

Participation in the programme grew from 1,270 beneficiaries in the 2011-2012 academic year to 3,648 in the 2016-2017 academic year (via the CaixaProinfància network, other collaborating organisations and the centres of the Department of Education of the Canary Islands Government).

In particular, assessments of the 2016/2017 edition confirm its impact on family relations. The sessions have enabled work to be done on different aspects, with special emphasis on improving parenting skills and family development.

As an example of the positive changes seen, a programme facilitator recalls: “One girl took a cut-out figure of a superhero to class. On it she had written: “This is my mom”. This little girl had done the workshop with us. Here we had a child who previously would not even say “I love you” to her mother; the fact that, following the workshop, she considers her mother to be a hero indicates that the evolution has been very positive” (discussion group, Valencia 2017).