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On 13 September 2018, the President of the Republic presented the national strategy for preventing and combating poverty, which is based on “urgent findings”. The strategy is mainly coordinated by the Ministry for Solidarity and Health, by an interministerial delegate to preventing and combating poverty among children and young people. It targets families as well as young people but nonetheless has a major “youth” component. The strategy includes a number of measures designed to reduce and contain poverty among the young people and provides a comprehensive preventive approach that does not only target people in the most precarious situations.
The strategy is partly the result of consultations held between January and March 2018, including several territorial meetings, an online public consultation and six workgroups.
Their results were presented in the presence of all interest parties: State departments, social bodies, community actors, qualified individuals and the people heard. The online public consultation attracted 7,200 respondents.
The strategy is still in progress.
The strategy is organised around 5 focuses, termed “Commitments”
- Commitment no. 1: “Equal opportunities from the very start in order to break the cycle of poverty”
- Commitment no. 2: “Guaranteeing children’s fundamental rights on a daily basis”.
- Commitment no. 3: “Guaranteed training pathways for all young people”.
- Commitment no. 4: “Towards more accessible and equitable social rights providing greater incentives to activity”.
- Commitment no. 5: “Investing in order to ensure that everyone finds employment”.
Each focus is based on observation of an existing inequality (statistical data) and comprises a series of measures. Focuses 1, 2 and 3 specifically concern children and young people. The measures presented will be implemented in the course of the coming year.
Focus 1: “Equal opportunities from the very start in order to break the cycle of poverty” takes account of the importance of education from early childhood onwards as a lever for reduction of inequalities connected with social origin. The Focus’ measures seek to improve the way children are received, through:
- Drafting of a training plan and a new professional reference framework in order to foster children’s development and learning of the language before they enter nursery school.
- Implementation of a “Social Mixity” financial “bonus” system for institutions taking in disadvantaged children.
- Development of modes of reception for very young children, in particular in territories with marked inequalities, with creation of a “territories bonus”.
- Creation of 300 new social centres in priority territories.
Commitment no. 2: “Guaranteeing children’s fundamental rights on a daily basis” This Focus aims to “halve the material deprivation rate among poor children by 2022”, via the following measures:
- Institution of free breakfasts in territories with marked inequalities, implementation of more affordable school canteen prices and of child nutrition access programmes.
- Organisation of joint State/Child welfare outreach programmes focusing on child protection.
- Consolidation of healthcare access missions entrusted to PMIs – Mother and Child Protection Services (Protection maternelle et infantile), and support to community medicine in carrying out school health missions, in the context of 0-6 y/o children’s health pathways.
- Preventing and combating over-indebtedness via deployment of 400 “Budget advice points” across the territory and introduction of a cap on bank charges.
Commitment no. 3: “Guaranteed training pathways for all young people”
Focus 3 measures are designed to combat school failure and foster young people’s professional integration. They are also in line with the reforms of work, vocational training and apprenticeship undertaken by the Government, pursuant to Law no.2018-771 of 5 September 2018 pour on the freedom to choose one’s professional future l.
The national strategy for preventing and combating poverty introduces an obligation to ensure training for all young people up to the age of 18. This measure helps identify a pathway towards the monitoring and training of young people at risk of social marginalisation.
Commitment 4 : “Towards more accessible and equitable social rights providing greater incentives to activity” aim to reform access to social rights through:
- Creation of a “universal activity income” based on a merger of several minimum social benefits (See 4.8 Current debates and reforms)
- An increase in the prime d’activité (employment bonus).
- Reform of access to complementary health insurance: an aid to payment for complementary health insurance (ACS) will be integrated into complementary universal health cover (CMU-c)
”Commitment no. 5” measures: “Investing in order to ensure that everyone finds employment” consist of:
- creation of an “Activity Guarantee” combining reinforced social accompaniment with integration into employment for 300,000 beneficiaries a year.
- consolidation of the integration by economic activity sector in order to foster the most fragile individuals’ return to employment.
- dissemination of such experiments as “Zero long-term unemployment territories”. This experiment was launched in 2016. It aims to bring concrete responses to problems encountered by individuals who have been unemployed for over a year, in particular by fostering employment of the long-term unemployed under open-ended contracts (CDIs) in social and solidarity economy companies, funded by the State and local authorities.
The national strategy for preventing and combating poverty is based on multi-partner work overseen by the Ministry for Solidarity and Health. It mobilises various parties working in the field with the most vulnerable sectors of the population: people concerned, territorial authorities, associations, researchers and the public authorities. The strategy is monitored on two levels:
- National, via the CNLE – National Council on Policies for combating Poverty and Social Exclusion (Conseil national des politiques de lutte contre la pauvreté et l’exclusion sociale), whose missions and composition will be revised in the coming months;
- Territorial, via governance at regional level mobilising the voluntary sector and representatives of territorial authorities.
The strategy is based on a contractual approach: its goals and modes of implementation, assessment of results achieved and financial resources must form the content of contracts between territorial authorities and the State.
Delegation for preventing and combating poverty among children and young people
In order to manage the strategy, a Delegation for preventing and combating poverty, in particular among children and young people, was created by Decree on 24 October 2018.
It is placed under the joint authority of the Minister for Solidarity and Health and the Minister for Labour and Employment.
The Delegation has been entrusted with a threefold mission:
- organising concertation between the main operators involved in preventing and combating poverty and all government departments and administrations concerned, territorial authorities, the voluntary sector and socially disadvantaged individuals themselves.
- coordinating preparatory work on the strategy and drafting of the texts organising its implementation.
- over the years to come, ensuring monitoring of the strategy’s implementation and assessment of
The inter-ministerial delegation for the prevention and combat against poverty has a triple mission: to organise dialogue, coordinate the preparation of a poverty strategy and follow up its implementation.
The Delegation runs the Scientific Council and manages the Social Investment Fund, which is intended to finance calls for projects on the following themes: development of young children, high-quality educational territories, integration of young people and combating non-take-up. The Delegation is headed by an Interministerial Delegate to preventing and combating poverty among children and young people, appointed by the Council of Ministers upon recommendation by the Ministry for Solidarity and Health,
The effects of the (Covid-19) health crisis on the strategy for the prevention and fight against poverty
In order to limit the negative effects of the coronavirus crisis in particular, the increase in precariousness caused by the loss of income and difficulty in finding a job, the Government in March 2020 established a number of measures aimed at the maintenance of economic activity: a partial activity policy and financial assistance measures (State-guaranteed loans, solidarity funds ...) as well as a plan to relaunch the economy from summer 2020, including integration and youth employment measures.
A number of measures have been taken to prevent and fight serious poverty, set around three major priorities:
- Sustain the purchasing power of persons in a precarious situation and those on a low budget and providing them with day-to-day assistance.
- Promote a way out of poverty by developing inclusion and activity solutions for the unemployed.
- Secure adapted housing and accommodation conditions and prevent unpaid rents.