Flexible child care for single parent families

Education Welfare

The Môm’artre network creates new kinds of spaces for after-school childcare, helping children to develop mainly through art. It is a network of associations with eight childcare centers, in Paris and French cities such as Arles and Nimes. These centers adapt to the incomes and work schedules of disadvantaged families and ensure a diverse mix of social strata. The ideas underlying the philosophy of the Môm’artre network are:

• Opening childcare centers with schedules adapted to urban environments (open until 8 pm, for instance), primarily to accommodate low-income families and single parents.

• Offering a variable fee structure depending on the family's income (from 10cts/h to a maximum of 8€/h).

• Proposing a full-service offer focused on children's fulfillment after school. (Organization of after-school snacks, homework and artistic activities, neighborhood events and gatherings on weekends).

• Employing struggling artists to create jobs and provide access to art and culture.

• Developing job training for parents in difficulty.

• Providing equal employment opportunities and jobs for women.

Observing that many families cannot find appropriate after-school childcare, they set up the first Môm’artre associations in response to the problems so many households encounter. In urban environments, it is impossible for reconcile family life with professional obligations without sacrificing part of one or the other. The goal is to provide solutions adapted to transportation problems, working hours and budget constraints for different types of families. The innovation in the network is especially in providing an active response to a social need either not provided or badly met.

The overall approach is based on four priorities:

• Initiation to art

• School and learning support

• Support for parents in difficulty

• Assistance in social integration

The project can extend to all large urban centers in France and Europe. The economic model combines the participation of citizens, local municipalities and commercial companies. This way, they provide a modern, solidarity-based social service. The actions and activities provide effective answers to the lack of affordable and appropriate after-school care, especially for low-income and/or single-parent families living in the city. The incompatibility between working hours and school hours is an obstacle to finding lasting employment. This often makes families in this situation even more vulnerable. The scholastic and social integration of children is also closely related to poor 'after-school' frameworks, and to the lack of cultural exposure for children of families in difficulty.