DESCRIPTION OF CONTENTS
It seems that in certain situations, whatever the intervention field (youth aid, health, education, foreigners welcoming …), the aid system struggles solving difficulties encountered by young people. Sometimes, the system itself creates additional problems for them.
To understand this “bad” support, the team of the general delegate for children’s rights met the people concerned.
The report presents the analysis of the interviews made with 12 young people about their life experience, how they see the support they receive and their suggestions.
The situations are remarkable for their succession of decisions, guidance, fostering, without significant result to improve their situation.
The report is made up of three parts:
• In the first part, the authors show that the unsuitability of the support to young people has varied aspects but produces converging feelings (discourage, depression, lack of confidence, lack of trust) that are weighty to bear when you are a teenager.
One chapter is dedicated to education, which crystallises the problem.
“A major institution, from early childhood to adulthood, the school could be a benevolent educative permanence, and counterbalance or compensate for the instability and fragility of their path. The cruelty of some testimonies shows that it is not. Worse, in many situations, it is unfortunate that compulsory education exacerbates the difficulties.
The issue of respect comes up several times, especially to highlight its absence from the relationships between the school adults (management, teachers, educators etc.) and young people.
Nowadays, teachers are confronted to daily management of social problems added to their teaching mission and to which they are little prepared. Most young people in our focus group wished the school had been more attentive and benevolent.
Moreover, the lack of solidarity in a competitive school system and the prevalence of a logic of exclusion and relegation of the weakest seem to have heavily affected the already chaotic life paths of our young witnesses”.
• The second part focuses the analysis on a consolidated effect of various flaws spotted in the support. The authors describe a “lack of meaning” and indicate that it produces problematic effects that make interventions fail.
• In the third part, the authors reproduce young people’s suggestions to adults and their message of hope for other young people.
COMMENTS ON THIS PUBLICATION
This report follows the general delegate’s repeated appeals on the lack of spaces in structures to welcome children and the unsuitable support some of them are the victims of, in French-speaking Belgium.
This is all from young people’s point of view. The authors wish to collect young people’s words directly, without being perverted by adults’ look or speech. Excerpts from the young people’s accounts feature in the report to illustrate its intention.
The authors choose (in French) the word “accompagnement” (here translated “support”) that seemed the most neutral and open they define as such: “physical, psychological and professional presence during a social adaptation, re-adaptation or integration phase, to guarantee the successful proceedings of this phase.
They consider as “bad” support, the flawed or inadequate support, regarding the presence of agents (social agents, parents) or the guidance given to the child’s situation.
From this report, we will retain among other that, the hyperspecialisation of aid services does not seem to improve the support of the children who have been interviewed. On the opposite, the authors feel it fosters the unaccountability of the services that act one after the other toward the child, often without consultation and without seeking the necessary synergies and transversalities. The testimonies seem to depict a system that identifies, isolates and deal with the parts of a global system to the point of forgetting that the problem is born (supported) by a (young) person! This one is logically deprived of their own history and ability to act on the solution of difficulties they are directly confronted to.
Hyperspecialisation of services seems to have a not insignificant negative impact on the trust relationships that are necessary between the child and the agent. Young people are often under the impression that they are the stakes of an institutional ping pong game. The agents follow each other and the, yet fundamental, trust relationship, is always jeopardised.