Document Type

Positive Systems of Child and Family Welfare International Conference (2002)

Publication Date



Faculty of Social Work


For 40 years, the French child protection system has been based on a structure set up at the dawn of the Fifth Republic, giving a strong role, and a monopoly to the State to support families in trouble. The role of Children’s Judges has been designed to personify the constitutional duty of the State to control and support the role of parents as defined by the civil code. The evolution of the structure of French society (family models, multicultural communities), the impact of more liberal economic and social policies (in a country strongly characterized by centralization and Jacobinism), the growth of the role of local authorities in welfare policies, the impact of the European convention on human rights about judicial proceedings, and the appearance of lobbying by ‘poor families’ organizations’ has led to major policy and service delivery changes in 2002.