More than one in five children live below the poverty line, and more than 42,000 are homeless: France still needs to make progress to guarantee the rights of children, in particular those of the most vulnerable, stresses UNICEF in a press release Sunday, November 20, on the occasion of the International Day of the Rights of the Child.
Social and territorial inequalities prevent “too many children to have access to school, health or protection services”deplores UNICEF France. “The most vulnerable children, whether they are in a situation of great poverty, handicap, victims of violence (…) struggle to see their most basic rights guaranteed”adds the organization, which is preparing a report for the experts of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
In addition, France resorts to practices contrary to the principles of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, such as the administrative detention of children when families in an irregular situation are going to be deported, denounces UNICEF. Since 2012, at least 33,786 children have been placed in detention, the vast majority of them in Mayotte and 1,460 in mainland France.
“The situation is worrying, although progress has been made. Minors are not sufficiently protected in France, they cannot sufficiently live their life as children”, commented Adeline Hazan, president of Unicef France. She judges in an interview to Sunday newspaper (JDD) that the confinement of children in detention centers for foreigners must be ” prohibited “.
Call for the creation of a children’s ministry
Unicef, however, recognizes improvements since 2016, the date of the last evaluation of France by the Committee on the Rights of the Child. It underlines, for example, the development of public policies devoted to children.
In 2019, the government launched a plan to combat violence against children. It has also implemented measures to strengthen support for thousand first days of the child. However, these policies are “very scattered”which harms “their readability” and to “their effectiveness”regrets Unicef, which calls for the creation of a ministry for children.
In his interview at JDDAdeline Hazan also denounces the difficulties for children to access structures related to mental health. “You have to wait six months to a year and a half to have an appointment in a medicopsychological center”she laments, gold “the consequences are sometimes dramatic, leading to hospitalization of children or adolescents”. As for Childhood Social Assistance (ASE), “there are more and more children” entrusted to him, “but the average cost of care is decreasing, and with it the quality of reception”she points.