“I would also like more individual time with the adults to talk about personal things because it bothers me a little to talk in front of everyone,” continues the little girl, fiddling with her comforter.

In this place managed by the Capso association, the children are divided into four groups according to their age and all those questioned by AFP ask for “more educators” – echoing the protests of social workers who have long denounced the deterioration of the system in France.

“We always have substitutes”, regrets Inès, 13, who criticizes educators for “never playing” with children.

“Here, some substitutes are a little too violent, they don’t give up to blows but their restraints are a little too much”, confides the teenager.

The lack of qualified educators is a black spot for Capso officials, here as elsewhere in France.

The manager of “La Maison”, Fabrice Jacquot, deplores “great difficulties in terms of recruitment” due in particular to salaries and time constraints.

– “References and security” –

Some children “have a lot of trouble sleeping”, they “need a lot of security and benchmarks”, but with staff turnover, they “are going to have even more trouble”, explains Justine Ferrand, an educator.

In the kitchen, the hostess Muriel Miagkoff, 52, prepares a pie for the older ones. In charge since 2015 of maintenance, linen or meals, she describes herself as “a mom at home”.

This dynamic fifties who says she works “with her heart” collects confidences: “I was far from imagining that distress could be so close to home”, she says.

“What children want is to be involved in decisions that affect them and to be loved,” said Gautier Arnaud-Melchiorre, a law student placed in his youth, author of a report aimed at accompany “professionals who try to do well” in the face of institutional logic.

For him, “the future of child protection can be built around small living units”, allowing in particular to cook in a family way and not by ordering from a central kitchen, or to travel by car and not by minibus”.

Ines, thus, complains of teasing in her college because the staff of the hostel comes to pick her up in “a big van”.

– “Grow faster” –

“You have to grow faster than everyone else when you arrive at the home,” says Memet, 14 “and a half”, placed in a Capso home in the Loire, where he sees little positive aspect in everyday life.

“What we might like is that we get a lot of help, the educs are there for us, but here it is,” he sums up. He knows it: an educator who has “11 children to sleep” cannot “read a story to everyone”.

“Nobody would like to be at home. Neither me nor anyone else,” says Medina, 10 years old, 7 of whom are at home. This frail little girl has two dreams, “to return to (her) parents” and one day to be “boss” of her restaurant.

It worries him to see that “so many” children “need the home, that we no longer know where to put them”. “Recently, a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old came to the big group because there was no more room and it pains me,” she says, her cheeks wet. of tears.

In France, approximately 300,000 children benefit from protection, of which 150,000 live in homes or foster families.

For Mr. Arnaud-Melchiorre, “what will improve the care of children is the daily life and the way of taking a child in his arms, of making sure that he has slept well, of playing with him and that cannot be enshrined in a law”.

The most recent law, voted in January, aims to improve support with in particular the systematic offer of a contract to young adults, signing the end of “dry outings” at 18 years old. Currently, according to INSEE, almost one in four homeless people (23?%) is a former foster child.