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Childcare: 200,000 more places, is that possible?



Emmanuel Macron, in the campaign, was committed to it. The Prime Minister intends to do so. In her general policy statement, Elisabeth Borne hammered home her desire to create “a real public service for early childhood” in order to provide “the 200,000 missing reception places” for children under 3 years old.

The stakes are not negligible at a time when the birth rate is falling: young parents want to be able to count on a mode of childcare before having a child, as evidenced by successive studies. Gold “this is not the case today, despite significant sums” invested in the sector, recalls the sociologist Julien Damon.

Will it be possible to achieve this within five years? Representatives of the sector doubt it, even if they welcome the voluntarism displayed. “It would be a lie to say that this will see the light of day in the coming months; it’s going to take several years.” warns Élisabeth Laithier, president of the early childhood commission at the Association of Mayors of France.

Administrative millefeuille

Tackling the field of early childhood is indeed putting a thousand sheets of skills back on track. Today, local authorities only have optional competence in this area. Result: they seize it with more or less going, and according to the state of their finances. “We will have to put forward more restrictive mechanisms than today. We know that, despite the aid measures put in place to help the most modest populations and the less wealthy territories, the offer remains very unequal depending on the territory,” advances Michel Villac, at the head of the High Council of the family of childhood and age (HCFEA).

“The organization is wobbly, between the departments that are responsible for approvals on the one hand, and the CAF and the mayors who finance on the other. To advance the creation of reception methods, it will be necessary to create a compulsory competence, with a clear leader”, adds Julien Damon.

Another aspect of the problem: human resources, as illustrated by a report by the National Family Allowance Fund (Cnaf) published Monday, July 11. The observation is striking: in large cities, such as Paris, Lyon, but also in Guyana, professionals are missing, sometimes forcing establishments to close their doors, contrary to the commitments made by successive governments. In total, “48.6% of collective crèches report a lack of staff for childrenwrites the organization. 9,512 places are permanently closed or unoccupied due to recruitment difficulties. »

“Not enough places in the competitions”

This problem is not new, however, underlines Julie Marty-Pichon, of the National Federation of Early Childhood Educators (Fneje): “For years, training organizations have not opened up enough places for competitions. » Above all, the young people who leave training and arrive in the structures “find that there is a gap between what they have learned – the imperative of good treatment, listening, observation of the child – and the reality they are discovering: exhausted teams, with less favorable than the European average”.

The same shortage exists, even more acutely, among childminders, the “nannies” who look after the children in their homes. Since 2015, their number has been declining and it is estimated that 30% must retire by 2030, which augurs well for a real crisis, since it is, by far, the leading mode of childcare in France. , with 900,000 children concerned.

However, here too, nothing has changed for fifteen years, deplores Sandra Onyszko, spokesperson for a professional body representing them. Even though avenues exist: aligning the cost for families with that of nurseries, making these professions more attractive by ensuring bridges and career development, fighting against isolation. “Often, the PMI services, overwhelmed, do not support childminders enough in the event of difficulties with a family and they find themselves fragile, easily dismissed. We therefore advocate the establishment of a referent for each of them. » History, again, to encourage young recruits and reassure them.

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Various measures against staff shortage

Monday, July 11, the Minister of Solidarity Jean-Christophe Combe undertook, during an early childhood sector committee, to fight against the shortage of staff in crèches.

The most controversial measure provides that people who are not qualified in the field of early childhood will be able to apply for in-house training, under the responsibility of professionals.

Two envelopes are released to develop well-being at work : €500,000 will finance the “Observatory of the quality of life at work” and €6 million will make it possible to deploy times for multidisciplinary exchanges, around the development of each child welcomed in the crèche.

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