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“There is no place for you”. Forms of Childcare Facilities’ Non-Recourse for Young Children in Popular Neighbourhoods

Pascale Garnier, Catherine Bouve, Carmen Sanchez, Valérie Viné-Vallin

Research Framework: Inequalities in access to childcare for young children are particularly strong in France. We analyze them through the question of the non-recourse to rights and services (Warin, 2016) in order to think about families’ childcare arrangements in relation to a local public offer.

Objectives: The objective is to research the different ways in which working-class mothers choose to care for their children when faced with a very inadequate public supply of early childhood care and an allocation criteria that are not favourable to them.

Methodology: The empirical survey is based on comprehensive interviews that were carried out with mothers (N = 27) in three working-class neighbourhoods in a city with very few childcare facilities.

Results: The analysis shows different forms of non-use that mothers have of childcare facilities. These forms are linked to the social and professional situations they are confronted with, that is in connection with an inadequate local supply: an assumed or asserted non-demand; a lack of information and knowledge of the supply and administrative procedures; a failure to offer and receive alternative proposals to the crèche, informal childcare by relatives or under the table. As their children grow older, mothers express increasing needs for care that are specifically at their development and socialization, and not only the needs related to their professional activity.

Conclusions: The difficulties encountered by mothers raise questions about the quantity and quality of municipal childcare provision, as well as the cobbling together of formal and informal childcare solutions.

Contribution: To understand whether or not mothers have recourse to extra-familial childcare, we emphasize the importance of simultaneously taking into account the situation of the local supply with which they are directly confronted and their own social and professional situation.