Leaving the child welfare services: From institutional housing to the initial steps on the housing market

The demographic situation in France
By Pascale Dietrich-Ragon, James Tovey

In France, 138,000 children and adolescents in danger—1.6% of the population aged under 18—are cared for by the child welfare services (Aide Sociale à l’Enfance). While they enter care at different ages, all must leave upon reaching age 18, when the legal duty of care ends, or at 21 if they obtain an extension contract (contrat jeune majeur). After leaving, they must provide for themselves and can no longer rely on the child welfare services for housing. Using data from the ELAP longitudinal survey on the autonomy of young adult care-leavers (Étude longitudinale sur l’accès à l’autonomie après le placement) and qualitative interviews, this article explores how these young adults find a place to live and how they perceive the experience. While they have faced housing insecurity from early on, their programmed expulsion from care is a new source of insecurity, thereby causing them stress and anxiety. In addition, access to housing is unequal. Those who follow the rules and have not left the institutional circuit get places in the best accommodations, and later a place of their own. Those unable or unwilling to comply with institutional constraints are the most vulnerable after leaving care.

  • child welfare services
  • youth
  • housing vulnerability
  • expulsion
  • housing
  • lower socio-economic categories
  • France
Go to the article on Cairn-int.info