Is childhood still overlooked as a government priority?
Action Education joins the thirty member organisations of the Dynamique pour les Droits des Enfants in reminding the new French government of the urgent need to place childhood at the heart of its priorities. The collective, of which Action Education has been an active member since 2019, is publishing a press release today to share its concerns in the face of current signals that unfortunately point to a step backwards in this area. Dynamique pour les Droits des Enfants deplores the failure to appoint a minister with responsibility for children's affairs, and calls, at the very least, for the secretary of state for children's affairs to be attached to the Prime Minister.
The announcement of the ministers on 12 January confirmed the absence of a fully-fledged Minister for Children, a long-standing demand of the Children's Union. Dynamics for Children's Rightsbut also formulated by the CNPE. A dedicated minister would have sent out a strong signal and provided a capacity for action commensurate with the challenges facing children. This absence compromises the development and implementation of public policies for children and young people in a cross-cutting and integrated manner, enabling us to move away from the "silo" approach that is still detrimental to children's policies and, ultimately, to children.
However, on 24 January, Catherine Vautrin, the French Minister for Labour, Health and Solidarity, was given the following powers by decree "preparing and implementing government policy in the fields of [...] the family, parenthood and childhood, in particular early childhood care and protection".. This decree ratifies the end of the attachment of these responsibilities to the Prime Minister, reversing the change initiated by Elisabeth Borne. The fact that the Secretary of State was attached to the Prime Minister's office meant that - in the absence of any real ministerial support - the Interministerial Committee for Children was set up under the aegis of the Prime Minister.
"We wish to insist on the essential appointment of a Minister Delegate for Children or, at the very least, the attachment to the Prime Minister of a Secretariat of State dedicated to these issues, with significant political clout, sufficient human and financial resources and clear oversight of the administrations working on issues relating to children".declare the organisations of the Dynamique pour les Droits des Enfants.
While the Head of State has made a number of recent statements on childhood, many challenges remain. The shortcomings of the child protection system, homeless children, the crisis in child psychiatry and paediatrics in general, and asymmetrical access to rights in the French Overseas Territories are all profound crises that require urgent attention and the development of a multi-sectoral strategy based on children's rights and needs.
"Our organisations remain mobilised and vigilant to ensure that children and adolescents, especially the most vulnerable, are taken into account in French public policies and internationally. We call on the government to act without delay to guarantee a better future for children".The members of the Dynamique pour les Droits des Enfants (Dynamics for Children's Rights).
For more information, visit : https://www.delaconventionauxactes.org/
- Coordination of the collective / SOS Children's Villages : Hervé Laud, Director of Foresight, Advocacy and Communication - [email protected] - 01 55 07 25 07 / 06 20 32 04 61
- UNICEF France : Carine Spinosi, Head of Press and Media - [email protected] - 01 44 39 17 49
Photo credits: Katerina Ilievska - SOS Children's Villages