He smiles uncertainly. Rubber boots on his feet, in work clothes, David, 21, walks with his massive figure the meadows in the golden light of autumn. He is busy, not the type to pour out. What he likes is taking care of the animals on the Fauchère farm, located in Bruges, near Bordeaux, where he finished his professional agricultural baccalaureate. He is surprised that we can be interested in his childhood, however unusual. Placed at 6 months, he grew up shamelessly from foster families to hostels until he was 18 years old.
Its story illustrates the difficulties, but also the successes, of Social Assistance for Children, which welcomes 200,000 young people who were not born under a lucky star. Thanks to these “educs”, David believes that his childhood did “Not been catastrophic”, since she took him to this end of the countryside that he loves so much. But the failures are no less real, illustrating the recurrent deficiencies of child protection.
“My mother was 16 when she had me, begins David. She was a drug addict with no money. She then decided to leave me in a nursery, thinking of coming to pick me up one day. “ But, that never happened. Instead, the little boy was placed with different foster families, not always up to the task. “The first was a very severe lady. She wore a whipping father mask to scare me when, for example, I got dirty or gave myself cold showers. “ Social assistance for children, she sees nothing.
Promiscuity does its work
Later, he goes into homes. Here again, the experience is very mixed. Of course, there are moments of recklessness when he watches for the passage, each year, of the Medoc marathon, a running race preceded by a caravan. Or the memory of the super “educators” thanks to which “I did sand yachting by the sea and bike rides”. The little pride of a boy his age: “Like the day I was given a yellow vest and a watch to go to the village school on my own. “
But the promiscuity of the home also does its work, deleterious. In this establishment which welcomed children from 3 to 18 years old, David suffered serious violence from a grown-up. “We went to file a complaint with the police, David says. I remember that I had to relate what had happened in front of a camera and that I was told to keep quiet so as not to go out of frame. “ The case, however, was not followed up, he believes. Her attacker just changed homes.
Himself, growing up, changes again, to get closer to his college and to integrate a home for teenagers, managed this one by the Apprentis d’Auteuil. There again, he remembers hazing, and more or less sympathetic jokes. But there were also friendships and educators who were never short of ideas. “Like Lionel, who was both a sportsman and a mechanic, and whom I still see. It’s a bit like a grandfather, for me, I go on vacation to his place. “
Support and anchoring
If he knows what he owes to child welfare, David feels he still needs a helping hand, because he knows he is very lonely. “I may be 21 years old, I am not independent, he admits. For example, I never learned to keep my accounts and my papers. “ Lack of autonomy and dizziness when leaving the system after 18 years: two traits often present in protected children.
So his luck is to have his boss, Jean-Louis Fauchère. A warm man, never stingy with good advice, who even goes so far as to finance part of his driving license. With him, David learns his trade, but also finds much more: support and anchoring. In this farm which is wide open to him, in the work of the land, David discovers a rooting that he has never known.
In August, however, he will have finished his apprenticeship. Will he be able to stay at the Fauchère farm? Will he have to look further? For now, this serious young man says he expects nothing from life: “In my training, two thirds of the students are getting ready to take over a family business. “ He will not have this chance, but believes he has understood other things: “Many believe that life is easy. I know they are dreamers ”he said with a smile, looking at the fields. And the joy, subject to the reservation, still emerges.
“We are asking for a connection to the Prime Minister”
Hervé Laud, Director at SOS Children’s Villages and spokesperson for the collective “From convention to action” (1): “On behalf of the collective, Isabelle Moret, the general director of SOS Children’s Villages wrote, on November 16, an open letter to the president asking him to attach the Secretary of State for Children and Families to the first minister. Today, it only happens at the very end of the protocol order, which deprives it of political weight, but also of transversal work with other ministries. However, it is essential to move forward on such complex issues. “