A teenager jumps from the eighth floor and dies. An Educator speaks publicly about the conditions of non-reception that he and seventy-two other isolated foreign minors are faced with . Her employer summons her for an interview prior to her dismissal.

A rally of support is planned before the headquarters of the Sauvegarde of the Marne at 9:30 am Monday, January 30th, RV 34 Grande Rue in Bezannes (the suburb of Reims).


This educator, Ibtissam Bouchaara, assumes her positions and explains them in a text that we reproduce below, because the questions she poses go far beyond a singular situation. What is the meaning of social work in a policy of non-reception? What is the role, the positioning of the worker, the social worker ?

When the structures, the operative associations that manage them after having responded to calls for tenders, manage what is outside the law (CAOMI – see here, here, here, here and there) To prepare deportations (the PRAHDA centers that are being set up), to put people out on the streets without a solution (in any CADA at the end of care), to sort, suspect, to eliminate minors because as well as being foreign they are isolated (in many services working for the protection of children).

How to keep your ethics and the sense of your work when the pressure becomes more and more heavy?


Resisting for isolated minors, by Ibtissam Bouchaara.

Ibtissam Bouchaara is an educator at la Sauvegarde, an association that manages, among other things, the Bellevue Foyer in Châlons-en-Champagne, where the young Denko Sissoko died on 6 January 2017. For bringing her testimony onto Radio primitive shortly after this tragedy , She was summoned for disciplinary action, then for dismissal. She will have to report to her management on 30th January at 10 am. In the meantime, she defines her position.

I was barely seventeen years old on the benches of IRTS (Regional Institute of Social Work).
I am thirty-seven today and kilometers of life have passed.

My professional career has been lived with the rhythm of these ‘skinned alive’ adolescents who are missing their parents, often rejected, unloved or denigrated. I had to learn this job of weaving the social bond between these teenagers and the other: the teacher, his or her peers, his parents, him/herself and the person he is and would like to be. I have certainly made mistakes, sometimes lost patience but this job takes me utterly. It has brought me invaluable human qualities.
I started my career in a departmental foyer and a few weeks after my arrival, we welcomed an isolated miner.
It was a rare case at the time. He was sick and under dialysis.
He was originally from Cameroon. He was not given any respite.
A plane ticket had been booked and it had been decided that he would return to the country in defiance of French laws and international conventions.

I departed from my duty of reserve which we owe even as contractual.
Discreetly, against the order I had been given, I put him in contact with the associations.
The department was asked to respect his rights and he continued his peaceful life in France.
I left the department, the duty of reserve of a civil servant was not compatible with my personality.
A few years later, I met him; happy and a little more adult.
I have taken full note of the place of social workers among the poor.
Depending on our choices, our degree of consciousness and our ethics, the lives of others can take a whole new turn.

So yes, one evening on December 23rd when I set foot in a service of SAMIE (1) of my association, as a delegate of the staff, I did not expect this border shock on our territory.
The figures are terrible: 4 educators, 73 young people.
There is no night watchman for their safety, no psychologist to treat their trauma, no maîtresse de maison (matron) for the mother’s side, but a mixture of experienced minors, others being assessed and adults in difficulty who live in the same building.
I did not expect such a large gap of accompaniment for the same mission.

I did not expect the  Social Assistance for Children (ASE) to allocate so little to their care, that the absence of a night watchman is described as ‘semi-autonomy’and that an association for whom we have so much militated has become so unrecognizable.
The final blow was brought by the announcement of the suicide of one of their residents two weeks after my passage. Whatever his age, his origins, his migratory course or the presence or not of a relative on French territory, he must remain in our eyes a ‘skinned alive’ just like the others.

If our theoretical lessons teach us to accompany teenagers who are suffering from the lack of a mother or father , missing one’s country is not a lesser suffering than another.
So I participated in the march to commemorate this young Malian, I expressed my disagreement on the policy of the reception of these isolated minors and I then invited authorities to take up this question.

In torment, they would like to make me believe that I am an employee who is unfair, harmful or even ill-intentioned.
It is to lose your bearings even your reason.
Questions are jostling each other. But how has the social been able to switch to administration and management to the detriment of our primary missions?
If the educators, who are the interface between society and the forgotten, are gagged, who will be the mouthpiece of the voiceless, the familyless, the sans-papers and the lost ?

My public remarks are only a reflection of a freedom of speech, which we all have as a citizen, but which I exercise all the more freely as a staff member. The threat of dismissal, this pressure through unspoken implications and defamation does not make me back down. In fact that the reception of isolated minors of this service was not sufficiently thought through before implementation in terms of means.
At a time when you have to walk quietly and make a profit, I decided to resist. Resist this ‘social’ which wants to be a manager. Resist so that the social remains impervious to political drifts. Resisting human rights abuses.
In short, that the reception of isolated minors, here as elsewhere, should be done with care and in all its plurality.

Ibtissam, élu, educator, citizen.

(1) Service for accompanying foreign isolated minors. »