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Quitter l’Aide Sociale à l’Enfance

Collection : Documents de travail

244, 2018, 31 pages

In France, 138,000 children and adolescents in danger – 1.6% of the population aged under 18 – are under the care of the child welfare services (Aide Sociale à l’Enfance) (Oned, 2015). While the children are taken into care at many different ages, all are obliged to leave when they reach age 18, the age at which the legal duty of care comes to an end, or at age 21 at the latest, if they obtain an extension contract (contrat jeune majeur). After leaving care, they must learn to be “autonomous”; in other words, they must make their own way in life and can no longer rely on the child welfare services to provide them with a place to live.  Using data from a longitudinal survey on the autonomy of young adult care-leavers (Étude Longitudinale sur l’accès à l’Autonomie après le Placement, ELAP) and qualitative interviews, this article explores the residential outcomes of young adult care-leavers: how they find a place to live, and how they perceive the experience. These young people have very early experience of housing insecurity; yet their programmed expulsion from care transforms the very space which was meant to be a refuge for them into a source of insecurity, thereby causing them stress and anxiety. In addition, access to housing is very unequal. Those who agree to follow the institutional rules and have not left the institutional circuit manage to get places in the best accommodations, and later a place of their own. The most “damaged” young people, on the other hand, those who are unable to comply with institutional constraints or who refuse to do so, are most exposed to residential insecurity after leaving care.

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