“Impressed”, “protected” children lead a dedicated council of ministers in Matignon

Elisabeth Borne chairs a council of children’s ministers at Matignon, in Paris on November 18, 2022 ( AFP / JULIEN DE ROSA )

“Impressed” by the golds of Matignon but teeming with proposals, around twenty children from child welfare services presented their ideas on the environment, health or school to Elisabeth Borne and several ministers on Monday. , during a dedicated consultation.

“Today, my ministers, it is you. It is you who are going to give me ideas”, declared the Prime Minister by opening this council of ministers of “protected” children, organized the day after the International Day of rights of the child of November 20, and which was monitored by an interministerial committee for children.

“Each of you was confronted very early on with many difficulties (…) but today you represent all the children of France”, she greeted.

This meeting comes at a time when the child welfare services (ASE) are facing great difficulties.

Defender of Rights Claire Hédon took up this question in mid-November, triggering a contradictory investigation in the North and the Somme where the situation is particularly delicate, while sounding the alarm bell on “the glaring lack” of means. for almost the entire territory.

President Emmanuel Macron had already hosted a council of children’s ministers at the Elysée at the end of 2017, with Unicef.

“It impresses me because it’s big and it’s the first time in my life that I’ve done it,” says Ryan, 11, in front of his hot chocolate served in a large Matignon lounge. A welcome appreciated by children, mostly aged 8 to 12, from Bordeaux, Nantes or Lille.

For Charlotte Caubel, Secretary of State for Children, it is “important to give voice to the children we hear the least”, who “have suffered violence” or “have complicated paths”.

– Workshops –

Several of them live in social children’s homes (MECS) where they have been placed by court decision.

This day is “an opportunity to make their voices heard on everyday issues but also to bring up their difficulties because of their situation”, explains Delphine Babel, director of one of these houses in Meurthe-et-Moselle, which accompanies two of them.

While Elisabeth Borne receives her Minister Delegate for Relations with Parliament Franck Riester upstairs, the children meet in small groups in the lounges on the ground floor to work out proposals on five themes: school, life environment, health and disability, access to culture and sport, and digital technology.

“I’d rather be late for work than pollute” with the car, says Warrick, 12, at the environment workshop. “Money is polluting when people buy lots of things,” says his neighbor Mérédith, 14.

At the school workshop, Clarisse, 11, in CM2 in Bordeaux, who has been teased for her physique, asks that we pay “more attention to fights” in the yard.

Intern in a specialized house, Muhammed Ali, 12 years old, does not know how to write well and asks the educator to put his demands on paper. For the school, “we would like to change the working conditions”, clean toilets, “do sports, more languages ​​and more experiences”.

-Qatar-

At the big table of the fictitious council, eight ministers have taken their places between the children. Grégory 10 years old, who comes from Rheu, near Rennes, finds that the football fields in Qatar “in the middle of the desert, it pollutes a lot. If I were a minister (…) I would have said to postpone the matches in 2023 for that they are (organized) elsewhere”.

Elisabeth Borne chairs a council of children's ministers at Matignon, in Paris on November 18, 2022 ( AFP / JULIEN DE ROSA )

Elisabeth Borne chairs a council of children’s ministers at Matignon, in Paris on November 18, 2022 ( AFP / JULIEN DE ROSA )

Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra promises him that “in the future, we want major events to make commitments” on the environment and recalls that France wants to “halve” its carbon emissions at the 2024 Olympics. .

Aby Diop, 16, is calling for “fines” for parents who put their children in front of screens before the age of 3.

Sarah El Hairy, who represents the Minister of Education Pap Ndiaye, offers them to become “ambassadors” against harassment, including cyber.

On health, Kelyah, 12, suggests at school, “more trees, more sports and… one day a year in pyjamas”. “Very good idea!”, Estimates the Minister of Health François Braun.

“Impressed”, “protected” children lead a dedicated council of ministers in Matignon