Rules or discretion in the access to collective daycare in a context of limited places? The case of France

Lamia Kandil, Université de Picardie Jules Verne
Nathalie LeBouteillec, University of Picardie Jules Verne (CURAPP-ESS) and Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Anne Solaz, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)

Early childcare is a major challenge of the European family policies. In France, free public school is available for most children from the age of three but before situations are diverse: the most common external childcare arrangement being individual childminder whereas only 15% of children are hosted in a collective daycare – the so called “crèche”. Collective structure is the most required childcare in France but the supply of care in such structures only partially satisfies the demand. The lack of such places is well known. Developing such childcare is regularly on the political agenda. The conditions for granting a place at “crèche” are neither clear nor transparent and thus give rise to questions such as: Are a place at “crèche” the result of discretionary policies ? Or are some objective criteria applied ? Do the family or professional constraints of parents constitute key factors? And moreover, is there a national policy or are geographical disparities observed? To better understand who gets a “crèche” place, we establish the socio-demographic profiles of parents whose child(ren) is attending a nursery comparing to the parents of baby who use another external childcare arrangement. Our sample consists of 43,964 children under 4 years belonging to 37,969 households from the survey "Families - housing" (2011), a large survey from the census. With this data we built a contextual database to take into account also geographical disparities in the childcare offer. Preliminary results show, somewhat surprisingly in terms of parents’ need for childcare, that single-parent families are not overrepresented in “crèches”, whereas children of elderly parents, with higher education levels, and self-employed are more likely to attend collective structure. A logistic regression shows that, the month of birth of the child and gender matter. Boys and newborns from the first trimester are overrepresented in collective daycare.

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Presented in Poster Session 1