in Hérault, the house for youngsters in disaster | EUROtoday

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“QWhat happened to Lina*, a 12-year-old child placed at the Montpellier Enfance Famille departmental home? ask the elected union officials. Without a solution for this young teenager for more than a year, we believe that she was certainly enlisted in a prostitution network. We have had no news since May 2023.” Runaways outside the department, internal violence at home between children and against educators, influence of drug networks… “The situation of older teenagers is very complex,” confides Ghislaine Rouxelin, educator teacher and normal secretary. of the CGT of the Children's Home.

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That of toddlers is not any much less alarming. Like these two youngsters aged 3 and 4, whose SAP judgment (Personalized Support Service) was not exercised for a 12 months, and has simply been remodeled right into a traditional placement measure, which can be not exercised. “One of the little ones is profoundly autistic, the second also has disorders. They are at major risk with parents who use drugs. »

READ ALSO The child welfare system is sickThese two cases were presented this month, along with others – all equally dramatic – directly to state services. “We chose to bypass our community by alerting the prefecture because we deplore a lack of management at the departmental level,” denounces Benjamin Karchen, CGT elected to the Hérault departmental council.

“With three hundred placement measures not implemented, around a hundred of which are emergency measures, we can no longer let the situation get bogged down. Emergency reception places and permanent places are lacking throughout the department, the prefect may perhaps be able to requisition buildings,” he provides.

Great difficulties for foster youngsters

Since 2022, strike notices and demonstrations have continued on the Hérault Child Welfare Department, on which practically three thousand youngsters rely. The day of motion this Thursday, March 28, was distinctive as a result of executives joined educators, social staff and administrative workers. A primary. “The situation is old, with a very successful strike in 2006,” recollects Lenaïc Berger, teacher teacher and normal secretary of the USD. But in the present day we’re reaching some extent of no return with an overload of labor and a scarcity of recruitment. »

In March 2023, an professional report from the Health, Safety and Working Conditions Committee (CHSCT) for critical threat was submitted to the Children and Families division. He famous a rise in long-term workers whereas the Children's Home, a public institution with a social vocation supposed to obtain minors who can’t quickly be saved of their common place of dwelling following administrative or judicial measures, should accommodate a toddler two months most. It describes the good difficulties of the kids obtained, significantly psychiatric ones, and behavioral problems, a deterioration of reception situations, a scarcity of recruitment and an absence of medical monitoring.

Our system is totally bankrupt, and, towards our will, our establishment is changing into abusive.Ghislaine Rouxelin, instructional teacher and normal secretary of the CGT of the Children’s Home

In one of many division's nurseries, a member of workers says: “Due to lack of space, the babies are in the corridors, we are afraid of crushing them while passing. » Ghislaine Rouxelin confirms that there are sometimes six or seven toddlers per room, and some will spend eighteen months there. “It is a stressful climate which cannot in any way ensure the balance of an infant. What will become of them? Children of the ASE! » Angry, she does not mince her words: “Our system is completely bankrupt, and, against our will, our institution is becoming abusive. »

Concentration of dysfunctions in Hérault

Welcoming families have become rare. “Due to a lack of training to deal with violence or disabilities, some are destitute,” explains Marise Lescou-Vialla, educator of younger youngsters and CGT elected official on the Children’s Home. A five-year-old baby was returned to me after a couple of months, within the parking zone of the house, are you able to think about! »

The president of the kids's court docket and the general public prosecutor of Montpellier, Fabrice Belargent, are additionally sounding the alarm. “The ASE crisis is national, but accentuated in Montpellier and Hérault with a concentration of dysfunctions, low-paid and insufficiently trained host families, and a serious problem regarding unaccompanied minors. However, in a democracy, a judicial decision must be executed,” insists Fabrice Belargent, who recollects that Montpellier has barely two magistrates per hundred thousand inhabitants, 5 youngsters's judges rendering round 100 choices every year.

Séverine Beuchet, deputy prosecutor and minors referent, insists on the truth that “temporary placement orders (OPP), when a minor is in danger, are more and more frequent, thanks to an effective detection system. But they cannot always be carried out because the services are in difficulty.” And sure measures, resembling SAPs (dwelling placements), are victims of their success: they keep away from a brutal separation of youngsters and their households however require a larger instructional dedication, and subsequently elevated mobilization of brokers.

+ 11% worrying info since 2019

The monetary technique of the Department Council aren’t in query. The price range of the Childhood and Family division has elevated by 47% since 2017. In 2024, it can quantity to 219 million euros (cumulative Childhood and Family division and PMI). « Kléber Mesquida [président du conseil départemental de l’Hérault, NDLR] is conscious of the scenario and has determined to make baby safety the central axis of its undertaking,” says Séverine de Montredon, director of the Social Action, Childhood and Family division on the division.

If she acknowledges that the scenario of the ASE might be thought-about as mistreatment, she signifies that the establishment “mobilizes all the means in its possession to restore meaning [à la mission des] professionals and better care for children and families.” With an 11% increase in worrying information since 2019, and a 13% increase in child protection measures, to which is added a resumption of flows of unaccompanied minors, Séverine de Montredon admits the difficulties in responding to justice measures in short deadlines.

Calls for initiatives have been launched over the previous 12 months, to steadily create 724 reception locations, with a goal of 169 locations by the tip of April. Of the 30 introduced, 12 locations, managed by an affiliation, will probably be opened on 1er April on the Children's Home. “It is an unparalleled system, but it takes time because we favor small units, to avoid insecurity and emotional deprivation. » Outsourcing to the private or associative sector which still worries staff and unions.

1,500 euros salary at the start of your career

“The search for premises and recruitment constitute real blocking points,” underlines Séverine de Montredon. Despite a collaboration, launched in September 2023, with the Regional Institute of Social Work to develop coaching, professionals are lacking.

“At the start of your career, you receive 1,500 euros, excluding Ségur. It’s a lower salary than our neighbors in Aude, we’re not at all attractive,” remarked a specialist educator throughout a earlier occasion within the fall. “And administrative and technical workers aren’t in the identical boat as social and medico-social brokers, who depend upon the hospital public service. »

For workers and households alike, the undertaking is formidable: everlasting reception, locations for youngsters in advanced conditions (disabilities, neurodevelopment issues) and with siblings. The director of the Social Action, Childhood and Family division expects lots from the parliamentary fee of inquiry, launched on the finish of April, into the dysfunctions of kid safety in France. “We want international consciousness of the disaster and the challenges of kid safety. At our stage, division presidents are mobilizing, professionals, former foster youngsters too. » And the State? This Thursday, brokers and unions on the street didn’t fail to sound the alert.

*the primary identify has been modified