Mistreatment in private daycare centers: profit before babies?

Mistreatment in private daycare centers: profit before babies?

After the Orpea scandal and the book “Les fossoyeurs” by journalist Victor Castanet, two works are already shaking the early childhood sector: “The price of the cradle, what privatization does to children” and “Babyzness, private crèches: l ‘unprecedented investigation’.

Two books, “Babyzness, private crèches: the unprecedented investigation” published this Thursday, September 7 by Editions Laffont and “The price of the crib, what privatization does to children” (Editions du Seuil), in bookstores Friday, September 8 provide testimonies , analysis and investigation of certain facts already reported in the IGAS (General Inspectorate of Social Affairs) report “Quality of reception and prevention of mistreatment in nurseries” made public last April following the death of a young child who occurred in a collective crèche in June 2022. These works highlight facts of mistreatment of young children in private crèches where, for example, diapers are not changed often enough, insufficient portions of food… All this to optimize profits.

Private nurseries: a boom in 10 years

The work “The price of the cradle, what privatization does to children” is the result of a year of investigation carried out by two journalists: Daphné Gastaldi and Mathieu Périsse, who after launching a call for testimonies following the death of a child in a crèche of the People&Baby group in Lyon investigated the consequences of the privatization of crèches in France. We also learn that the latter represent 24% of the sector in France compared to 11% ten years ago. If these crèches operate the same way as public crèches (same legal standards), they are managed by a private company, the “crèche manager”. In the viewfinder of the authors of the book “The price of the crib” four large groups (Grandir-LPCR, People & Baby, Babilou and La Maison Bleue) are particularly singled out. Mistreatment, lack of staff, cost savings to the detriment of the well-being of babies, pressure on families, etc. Enough to provoke the anger but also the concern of parents and future parents.

A particularly heterogeneous quality of reception

At the end of its investigations, the mission noted a particularly heterogeneous quality of reception in ECECs, the sector presenting high quality establishments, supported by in-depth educational reflection, as well as establishments of very poor quality. If the perspective of the report consists of highlighting the risks and possible dysfunctions within these establishments, these inadequacies in no way diminish the quality of numerous projects and the strong commitment of many professionals” can we read in the IGAS report. “What is happening behind the doors of private nurseries (because it is in these structures, in particular, that the most serious abuses have been reported to us)? How are our children treated? Are they monitored enough? Are we speaking to them correctly? Do they have enough to eat? How are the checks carried out and what is their frequency? How did we get here ? We embarked on this work as journalists, as citizens, but also as mothers of young children.” reveals from the first pages the book “Babyzness, private crèches: the unprecedented investigation” by the two authors Bérangère Leptetit and Elsa Marnette, journalists at Le Parisien.

Following the publication of these works, Aurore Bergé brought together the nursery sector committee on Tuesday September 5. She addressed several subjects such as the strengthening of controls, which depend on the departments, but also the attractiveness of early childhood professions. These professionals are relieved to be heard, even if sometimes ashamed of certain facts… Major projects therefore await the Minister who can already base herself on the recommendations of the Igas:

  • knowledge of child development and the contribution of science;
  • the guarantee of an effective and reassuring presence with children;
  • improvement of buildings and interior and exterior layout;
  • human resources and professional training;
  • financing and quality of reception;
  • the alert, complaint and reporting circuit;
  • evaluation and inspection control;
  • governance of the early childhood sector.

“To explain the scale of the crisis, the minister (Jean-Chritophe Combe) is not beating around the bush. ‘We wanted to make figures, develop the number of places, legitimately because it was the demand of parents, but probably by not organizing it, by not being demanding enough’ he says” can we read in the epilogue of the book “The price of the cradle, what privatization does to children”. And who concludes “The adults of tomorrow deserve better”.