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The Policy of Supporting Carers in France: An Unfinished Articulation with the Community

Dominique Argoud

Research Framework: The evolution of public policy in support of informal caregivers and the role played by associations in France

Objectives: This article aims to understand how the growing government’s involvement in helping caregivers translates into the institutionalization of local initiatives.

Methodology: The article is based on a socio-historical approach to the policy of informal caregivers since the 1980s. Using public policy documents, but also the results of associative actions, it is a question of tracing the interactions between the public and community sectors.

Results: In few years, the government has been heavily involved in the development of an active policy towards caregivers, notably through a refocusing of its medico-social policy. But in reality, this policy is based on a limited register of action which does not support the long-term setting up of locally implemented schemes.

Conclusions: Paradoxically, the government growing intervention in recognizing the role of caregivers does not, as in the past, result in the institutionalization of pioneering local innovations. Since these innovations a more preventive and cross-cutting approach than a medico-social approach, they struggle to benefit from sustainable funding.

Contribution: The analysis of a public policy cannot be limited to a top-down approach. Indeed, a bottom-up approach is complementary because it is the interactions between these two levels that condition reality.