The variety of childcare trajectories of French youths having experienced placement

Nicolas Robette, Università Bocconi
Isabelle Fréchon, CNRS

In France, the child welfare system is bipolar. Responsibilities concerning care decisions, educative follow-up and financial issues are shared between two bodies (state-run children’s protection services and juvenile justice) and often quite entangled. As a consequence of this complex organization, none of these two bodies in charge of child welfare have a comprehensive view of young people’s care trajectories. In 2006-2007, we realized a retrospective study (called “Elap”) based on records archived in care services and juvenile courts of two French départements, in order to reconstruct the complete care trajectories of a cohort of 21-year-old youths having experienced placement after 10. Using event-history calendars, 809 trajectories have been gathered, including entering and leaving care motives, types and origins of social measures, placement places, family and socio-demographic characteristics. Taking advantage of these very rich data, we shall present a description of the children in care trajectories’ main features. Then, by means of sequence analysis techniques, we shall “fish” for the typical patterns of placement histories among these youths, thus giving an account of the heterogeneity of youth care trajectories.

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Presented in Poster Session 2