Background to the programme
The ADSEA77 Association has a "Educational, social and family action” service. This service takes charge of families as part of a legal process which follows prior social support that is not sufficient. This procedure helps in the management of the family budget which has existed in the Civil Code since 2007. Before that it existed under the administrative name of child benefits. It entrusts to social workers in the service the management of family benefits for families whose financial conditions are detrimental to children's needs in order to support them in better managing their resources and with financial education. This is to provide better living conditions to their children.
Objectives of the programme
- Protect children from poor material and financial conditions to assure their well-being: in health care, education ...
- Provide financial education to parents and redirect them in their choices and the management of their resources in the interest of their children
1) Judicial Decision
- Support with budget management follows a decision of the judge for children from the Court of Meaux or Melun. This is a child protection measure that requires the management of family benefits to be entrusted to social workers (social workers, specialist educators or counsellors in social and family economy).
- People placed under this legal procedure are families in very precarious situations: the majority of them are in serious debt, many live only thanks to the RSA, some even live through their disability payments or from low wages.
- Its duration is set by the judge. Renewable if necessary. (The average duration is about 5 years)
- Monthly meetings at the families’ homes. The social workers will
manage the relationships with the creditors and "reteach" parents how to manage their budget, to guide their choices and priorities in order to gradually regain a financial equilibrium. They will begin by taking stock of the economic and financial situation.
- The delegate makes enquiries about the development of children, their education, their health, their free time and social integration. As much as possible they organise meetings with the children to record their thoughts on what concerns them, especially when the service is the only one intervening.
3) Transitional period
When the support ends, a transitional period of 6 to 8 months is put in place during which the family slowly regains its financial independence under the supervision of social workers.
Quantitative and qualitative results from the implemented actions
- The service monitors over 400 families, 80% of which accept the ADSEA support without a problem. Only 4% of families are really non-cooperative.
- Each social worker is responsible for between 27 and 30 families.
- In general in the first four months of the support, people let themselves be guided by social workers. Then little by little they gain the confidence to perform the steps for themselves.
- The majority of beneficiaries are only monitored once by the association. Some parents come back to the association to benefit from a second support but this situation remains very unusual.
Contribute to the well-being of children by improving the situation of parents. Create a favourable environment around them to offer the best development opportunities.
Partnership(s) developed in the context of the programme
The ADSEA service has no established partnership but can rely on a wide network of institutions and associations to redirect its beneficiaries, if necessary, to: donors, hospitals, social workers ...
Difficulties and/or obstacles encountered during the programme’s implementation :
- At first, many families are afraid that this procedure removes custody of their children when the purpose of this measure is to maintain family cohesion.
- The loss of the management of family benefits for the supported people also creates the context for a delicate approach.
- The problem of housing, capital to ensure a good quality of life, is of particular concern in the Paris region where housing is very expensive,
- The problems of poverty and precariousness "accumulate" very often with other difficulties. Social workers are often faced with problems of alcoholism, health and domestic violence, which require support from the network.
Solutions used to overcome the difficulties and/or obstacles :
- To facilitate the reception of the court decision by parents, social workers make a welcome booklet available to families. This transition is also done with a lot of discussions between parents and social workers.
- The support for families by the delegates is done in view of accompanying but not assisting, all the decisions are discussed with the families.
- Occasionally, small workshops are organised to open families up to other perspectives (eg. makeup workshops for women).
- Additional training is essential for this support and a good knowledge of the area in order to guide them properly.
Suggestions for future improvement :
- Work with ATD Quart Monde on sharing knowledge
- Work a little more maybe with Cultures du cœur
Summary of factors responsible for the programme’s success :
PROFESSIONAL POSITION OF SOCIAL WORKERS:
> Respect the otherness of the families they work with
> Their absolute priority is to keep families in their homes.
> Possible redirection of families to other bodies (hospitals, associations ...)
PROMOTE PARENTAL AUTONOMY
> Work extensively with families: the delegate will help them become aware of their problems and make use of their skills and potential to find solutions. It’s to encourage existing skills and know-how.
> First, establish a relationship for: Supporting the Family + Highlight their skills + enable people to regain confidence in themselves and become assured + restore the social link
To know more
Article in ASH: SEDRATI DINET (Caroline) TI: Assistance in the management of the family budget: an underestimated measure TP:Actualités sociales hebdomadaires STP:ASH NUM:n° 2876 DATE:26th September 2014
ASH: Child protection | 24.12.2014 Article by Maryannick Le Bris
Help managing the family budget: focus on the experience of families
Conducted at the initiative of the National Union of Family Associations (UNAF), two unpublished studies argue in favour of better integration in the overall strategy for child protection, the judicial measure for support in managing the family budget (MJAGBF)