The Collectivity of Alsace increases grants for child protection

Nicolas Matt, vice-president of the Collectivity of Alsace, announces an increase in the budget of the Bas-Rhin Children’s Home in 2022, in order to allow the creation of positions. More generally, throughout Alsace, the department intends to create 208 placement measures for minors.

At the beginning of January, Rue89 Strasbourg revealed how the inadequacies of the supervision at the Bas-Rhin Children’s Home generates violence between young people and against educators. This structure in great tension is responsible for urgently welcoming children removed from their homes by court order. According to the professionals interviewed, the condition of some young people deteriorates after their placement. We also mentioned that in Alsace, at least 300 minors supposed to be the subject of a placement measure are not supported due to a lack of resources in child protection.

It is the departments, in this case the Collectivity of Alsace (CeA), which are child welfare officers. Interviewed in December, Nicolas Matt (LREM), vice-president in charge of youth, announced that the CeA was going to create 71 placements in 2022. 208 places distributed between Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin.

“We have recognized the difficulties, we are adapting to this reality”

Among these places, 100 are part of the “placement measures”, about thirty places of boarding school (Children’s homes of a social nature (Mecs), homes, etc.), placements at home (regular monitoring by educators) , and places with host families.

The other 108 places correspond to “open environment measures”: educators provide educational assistance to those responsible for the child and also visit their home. Nicolas Matt specifies the objectives of these new places:

“We want to have many different types of placements so that we can offer solutions tailored to the individual circumstances of each child. »

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Nicolas Matt. (Photo TV / Rue89 Strasbourg / cc)

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Nicolas Matt. (Photo TV / Rue89 Strasbourg / cc)

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Nicolas Matt. (Photo TV / Rue89 Strasbourg / cc)

Paul Geoffroy, Deputy Director General for Solidarity at CeA, explains:

“We have noted the difficulties, which are a reality, in particular the large number of unsupported minors. This is linked to a sharp increase in placement measures since the Covid. We adapt to this reality. We have worked to offer as many places as possible in view of what the associations that will carry out the projects and the social workers available can offer. »

Six supervisors and four additional night watchmen

The budget for the Children’s Home is to increase by 9.15% between 2021 and 2022, from 14.7 to 16.1 million euros. Faced with understaffing in the structure, the department announces the creation of ten positions: six supervisors and four night watchmen, while the number of reception places will remain stable: 226 places. Eric (first name changed), educator at the Children’s Home, comments:

“The unions have alerted Frédéric Bierry (president (LR) of the CeA, editor’s note) and management several times in recent years about the lack of supervision, the risks for children and working conditions. Nothing was ever done. It took media pressure for the department to finally take action. »

In France, the departments are responsible for child protection. (Photo TV / Rue89 Strasbourg / cc)

Nicolas Matt also announces that the supervisors of the Children’s Home, like all the educators of the department, will now have the possibility of obtaining a professional mobile phone and access to psychological support, via the firm Reliance. The CeA also intends to negotiate with the government to increase the remuneration of specialized educators throughout France, and to impose that family assistants (host families) receive the minimum wage from the first children welcomed.

Increase in the budget for child protection in general

Nicolas Matt talks about the ambition of the community:

“Between December and March, I discussed with my colleagues to make child protection one of the priorities of the mandate. Operating expenses will increase by 4.6 million euros compared to 2021. They will reach 246.7 million euros. »

The elected official, also municipal councilor of opposition to the City of Strasbourg, wishes to organize “assizes of the protection of children in 2022”, a kind of summit to evoke, “with the professionals of the structures and many stakeholders” , the realities on the ground and the necessary adaptations. In addition, it intends to create this year a council made up of children in care so that the latter can also express themselves on child protection policies.

Three additional positions at Arsea

At the end of September 2021, Rue89 Strasbourg had alerted to the lack of resources at the Specialized Regional Association for Social Action (Arsea), where an educator had committed suicide after that of a teenager he was following. The CeA, which mandates and finances Arsea for protective measures, provides for the creation of three positions in the structure.

Elected from the environmental opposition to the CeA, Ludivine Quintallet welcomes the budgetary effort for child protection:

“The creation of places and the granting of resources is a good thing and we asked for it. However, our group abstained due to a lack of visibility. We are not sure that these measures will solve the current problems because despite our requests, we do not know how many children are not placed following a judge’s decision. »

“We are waiting to see the feedback from the field”

Asked about the number of children not placed for lack of means, Paul Geoffroy and Nicolas Matt claim that they do not have this figure “which varies constantly”, but they assure “that it has fallen”. There must therefore be a little less than 300 unplaced children according to them. According to Paul Geoffroy, “the children supposed to be placed but who do not obtain a measure are not in the most urgent situations. Serious cases are prioritized. He believes that the role of the CeA is not to “create as many places as unrealized placement measures, but also to act in prevention, in particular with measures in an open environment”.

The main site of the Children’s Home is at the Neuhof. (Photo TV / Rue89 Strasbourg / cc)

Ludivine Quintallet considers that the number of children not placed despite a judge’s decision should still be public:

“It is a reality that illustrates a deficit in child welfare due to a lack of resources. More generally, how can one, as an elected representative, make decisions, vote on budgets, if one is not aware of the needs? »

Ecologists had also requested an information and evaluation mission (MIE) on child protection to have precise data, but it was refused by the right-wing majority in the department.

Éric, from the Children’s Home, observes:

“The tone has changed since the beginning of the year, that’s clear. Reliance’s intervention will be presented to us at the beginning of June. Work phones are available but for the moment there are no additional extensions, although this is the most important measure. We are still understaffed. »

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