Europe 1 with AFP // Photo credits: Xose Bouzas / Hans Lucas / Hans Lucas via AFP (illustration photo) 19:59 p.m., November 28, 2023

The National Assembly has voted to create a commission of inquiry into crèches proposed by the Insoumise deputies, in order to clarify the "economic model" of a sector. LFI's proposal was adopted by 178 votes to 161, with the support of the entire left.

The National Assembly voted on Tuesday to create a commission of inquiry into nurseries, proposed by Insoumise deputies, in order to clarify the "economic model" of a sector where the excesses of certain establishments have been pinpointed in recent months. LFI's proposal was adopted by 178 votes to 161, with the support of the entire left, the independent Liot group and the National Rally, despite opposition from the right and a large part of the presidential camp.

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A "very disparate" quality of reception

The initial version of the resolution adopted on Tuesday, led by LFI MP William Martinet, only targeted private nurseries, but the scope of the future parliamentary commission of inquiry has been extended to the entire sector, at the request of the right. However, the Les Républicains (LR) group did not give its support, judging that the approach was "incriminating" and "without nuance" with regard to private players in the sector.

The presidential camp was divided, with the Macronist Renaissance group and the MoDem voting against an initiative that they saw as useless, unlike most of the voters of their allies in the Horizons group. LFI's initiative is based in particular on the conclusions of an alarming report published in April by the General Inspectorate of Social Affairs (Igas), commissioned by the government after the death of an 11-month-old baby in a private nursery in Lyon in 2022.

"Abuse doesn't come out of the blue"

The inspectors had noted a "very disparate" quality of reception in the sector and had collected testimonies from public and private professionals and parents, describing situations similar to mistreatment in certain establishments. Two investigative books published in September - "The Price of the Cradle" and "Babyzness" - have once again put the subject on the table, shedding a harsh light on the way in which certain structures in the private sector operate, where a race for performance is being played out to the detriment of children.

"Mistreatment does not fall from the sky, nor can it be reduced to a succession of individual errors or malicious acts" but "it has its origin in the economic model of crèches", said William Martinet in the hemicycle. Evoking the scandal of the Orpea group's retirement homes, L'Insoumise fears that "the same excesses of financialization" will be repeated in early childhood. The private crèche sector is essentially dominated by four large groups (Les Petits Chaperons rouges, Babilou, La Maison Bleue, People & Baby), some of which are backed by investment funds.