Single parent households experience periods of food insecurity more frequently than other Australian families. Despite elevated risk, many single parents achieve food security with limited means. This article applies and evaluates the utility of the livelihoods framework approach as a tool for understanding food insecurity in this population and generating relevant policy recommendations. The approach is adapted here to provide insight into the skills, strategies and resource individuals use to attain or strive for food security. The framework incorporates these individual capabilities into a model of the social, economic and political structures and processes through which individuals navigate to attain food security. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with single parents living in rural and urban South Australia. Transcripts were analysed in an effort to populate a food security livelihoods framework for single parents. The livelihoods framework is found to be capable of reproducing the types and levels of capabilities reported in previous findings. Furthermore, it provides novel insight into the relationships that form between classes of capabilities and between capabilities and the structures and processes in which they are utilised. These insights are considered in terms of relevance to policy.