While the French government is deliberating on child welfare services, the National Assembly has appointed a task team to investigate on welfare and child support in charge of the follow up of children placed away from home.
This decision follows a controversial broadcast on French television (Channel “France 3”), which denounced several flaws in child protection programs. This included being bounced from one foster home to another, violence in the foster homes, lack of training for the educators, etc…Placed in protective custody as a child, the MP Perrine Goulet (“La République en Marche” party) enlisted several other deputies in January to create a committee to examine child welfare and support programs.
In France, action is taken to protect 341,000, and over half is placed in foster institution or families (statistics for 2017).
This investigative task force includes 23 deputies, who will evaluate the competences and appropriate role distribution of the responsibilities on both national and regional levels. Training for personnel, and ways to implement educational programs will also be studied. Until the end of the legislative period, this task team will carry out their functions, which will involve travel throughout France and abroad.
Simultaneously, at the end of January, the government launched a plan for social assistance for children, with provisions which should be confirmed this summer. The Secretary of State for Childhood Protection, Adrien Taquet, mentions that important subjects to be treated include the methods of recruiting and training professionals, and providing access to social assistance. In his opinion, this would help “implement judicial measures for placing children more rapidly“.
Another important challenge is to develop a program for these young people to help them after their 18th birthday. Indeed some of them end up homeless. According to a 2016 survey published by “INSEE” (National Institute for Statistics and Economics), 23% of the homeless adults in France had previously been placed in homes or institutions as children.