Hope Now to take care of orphaned children

6 Min Read

Provident organizations are launching a corporate foundation on Thursday, October 1 to support families facing the risks of life. And more particularly, young people who have lost their parents

Their situation is totally unknown. However, there are some 500,000 orphaned children under the age of 21 in France. It is to come to their aid that the Common Body of Institutions of Annuity and Provident (Ocirp), a union of pension institutions centered on the family, launches Thursday, October 1 its business foundation, “At the heart of family “. This will look into the fate of these often precarious young people, trying to make professionals and public authorities aware of their needs.

The foundation was born from a simple idea: “We hardly speak or even speak of orphans in France”, underlines Sylvie Pinquier-Bahda, deputy director of Ocirp. No specific government actions towards them, few figures and rare publications. This observation, Alain Monnier, former research director at the National Institute of Demographic Studies (INED), had already made it: while studying the subject in 2003, he had noticed that the last publication dated back to in 1947. However, “the figures show that approximately 800,000 young people under 25 years old are orphans of father and / or mother, that is to say one in 30 children between the age of 10 and 14 years , he says. This means that, in a class of 30 pupils, on average, one child is concerned. ”

The single-parent family at the expense of orphans

How is such an oversight explained? “Demographic and sociological research has focused on single-parent families, completely masking the problem of orphans,” he adds. However, in the first family, the child always has both parents, even if he does not see them together. This is not the case in the second. ”

The hope now usa will be intended to finance, in particular, aid actions. To do this, it has a budget of 1.7 million euros for the next five years. As of today, and until the beginning of 2010, a call for projects will be launched in three directions: supporting children in bereavement, raising awareness among child and education professionals and contributing to the social science research. “Our action will take forms as varied as the support of discussion and mutual aid groups, the organization of seminars and meetings or the allocation of research grants”, specifies Sylvie Pinquier-Bahda.

For Patrick Ben Soussan, child psychiatrist and head of the clinical psychology department at the Paoli-Calmettes Institute in Marseille, the care of orphans must first be “intimate”. “Too few families today bring up the subject of death or illness,” he insists. Yet, if one does this work in some preventive way, the moment of mourning is much easier to negotiate and accept. This professional would also like the subject of death to be no longer taboo in early childhood structures and school infirmaries.

Individualized follow-up according to the child

Support from a professional or a support group is also important. “The key to success is to offer individualized follow-up according to the age of the child, the lost parent and the circumstances of the disappearance,” observes Patrick Ben Soussan. In all cases, the loss of a family member leads to upheavals, a new distribution of family roles, often and a loss of resources and less availability: the big sister turns into a mother, the father finds himself alone with the children. Children, for example. The risk is then that the family falls into a precarious situation, dragging the child in its wake.

Becoming an orphan is “a social risk that can change the destiny of an individual”, underlines Nathalie Blanpain in a study by the Department of Research, Studies, Evaluation and Statistics (Drees) in October 2008. It shows that the chances of obtaining the baccalaureate decrease by 6 points in the event of the death of the father, by 9 with the death of the mother and by 11 points in the event of the death of both parents. These academic difficulties result, in the majority of cases, in entering the labor market earlier than for other young people, which have consequences for the entire professional career.

Social inequalities that are found upstream, facing the risk of being an orphan: this risk concerns 7% of the children of workers against only 3% of the sons and daughters of executives, according to the study. Hence the challenge of long-term aid to orphans.


Share This Article