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MINORS IN DANGER: AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE SCANDAL OF THE BREAKDOWN OF THE CHILD SOCIAL SUPPORT SYSTEM | M6 | Zone Interdite

For a year, our teams pierced the opaque world of the ASE (Child Social Support). Month after month they were confronted with the excesses of a system riddled with major failures. When met with closed doors, the reporters found their way into several Social Support centres throughout France. Their investigation reveals a shocking reality.  They discovered unqualified staff, recruited without any certification, with no contract and, even worse, sometimes without any criminal record checks. In these establishments, adults, supposed to be supporting the young, are overwhelmed and sometimes violent. They abandon the children to their own devices, with no schooling and no stable environment. They even stuff them with sedatives to get some peace. The investigation also reveals the scourge of certain centres: young girl residents are prey to procurers. At 13 or 14 they go absent for weeks to work as prostitutes in neighbouring hotels. Ill-treatment of children in care, embezzlement by centre managers… Departments may have been alerted to these excesses for years, but don’t act, preferring the law of silence to transparency. As a consequence of a failing public policy, the statistics are damning: 70% of children in care leave the ASE with no qualifications. 20% suffer from a physical or mental handicap. One homeless person in four is a former child in care. However, the picture is not entirely bleak: centres like that of the Lower-Rhine provide real refuges for children in danger, abandoned or ill-treated by their families. In these establishments, which do their utmost to protect and educate them, children can grow and develop in proper conditions. There are also elected representatives, like Deputé Perrine Goulet, who are fighting to get things moving and enable children in care to have the same opportunities as others.