Criticized for its lack of ambition during its initial presentation, the child protection bill finally had a few surprises in store during its passage in the National Assembly.
The text, voted on at first reading Thursday, July 8, contains several provisions aimed at improving the lot of some 330,000 young people followed by social assistance to children (ASE): the supervision of hotel accommodation, the modernization of foster family job, as well as measures concerning so-called unaccompanied minors (unaccompanied minors), these young foreigners who arrive alone in France and request support from the departmental services, leaders of child protection .
On this last aspect of unaccompanied minors, Adrien Taquet, the Secretary of State in charge of child protection, had made a strong commitment and long demanded by associations in the sector: to prohibit the placement of young people in social hotels, places where they often live on their own, far from their educators, prey to violence, trafficking, even prostitution.
In January 2020, after the fatal assault by another child of a young man entrusted to the Hauts-de-Seine ASE, the former Minister of Solidarity and Health, Agnès Buzyn, as well as Mr. Taquet, had commissioned a report from the General Inspectorate of Social Affairs (IGAS) to objectify the realities of hotel accommodation. Conclusion: in a document dated November 2020, the IGAS estimated that between 7,500 and 10,500 young people, 95% of unaccompanied children, would live in this way, in conditions of great precariousness.
While the arrivals of young foreigners have continued to increase in recent years, the departments, under pressure, sometimes mobilize this type of accommodation on a large scale, because of their lower cost.
On the second day of consideration of the text, Wednesday, the deputies voted in principle to ban hotel accommodation, while admitting two exceptions: cases of emergency and sheltering. Two amendments, supported by the government, limited this possibility of accommodation to a maximum of two months and provided it with minimum support for the young person.
Several parliamentarians denounced in these exceptions a decline of the government. “These children are always in emergency situations”, launched the deputy (Communist Party, PCF) of Hauts-de-Seine Elsa Faucillon. “We must lay down a principle of prohibition (…) but I said there would be exceptions. Otherwise, what will happen? There will be children on the streets, retorted Adrien Taquet. You cannot absorb 10,000 children in a year. “
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