a medal for those who “looked after other people’s children”

For one evening, Wednesday March 16th, the Élysée took on the atmosphere of a family celebration. Three generations rubbed shoulders at Secretary of State Adrien Taquet’s presentation of the Childhood and Family Medal. On this occasion, the tenant of the premises, Emmanuel Macron, came to commemorate it “that families are at the heart of our social cohesion”.

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Also under the huge tasselled chandeliers a gathering of well-behaved children, dapper young girls and parents in their Sunday best took their place, all proud to be a part of it. A few children are playing, prams are behind the rows of chairs. All eyes are on the lucky ones, who are being summoned one by one by an usher: many mothers, some fathers too.

More varied profiles

One by one they appear. Then, between a Republican guard and Marie-Andrée Blanc, President of the National Union of Family Associations (UNAF), Adrien Taquet presents them with the new “Infancy and Family Medal”. It now replaces the Family Medal created in 1920 to reward parents of large families. A hundred years later, more diverse profiles are distinguished: parents of disabled children, sick people or people who “Take care of strangers’ children” reminds the minister of child protection professionals.

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After a rehearsed and slightly outdated choreography, the minister greets everyone with a quick note, praises their merits and inevitably gets tangled up in their files. The audience laughs heartily in a good-natured atmosphere. Under the gold of the Republic, it adorns the lapels of the jacket of a firefighter who excelled during the health crisis, a hospital radiologist, mother of eight, of Fatima, mother of six, who was praised for her “excellent school performance”, Laurence, mother of four, former Director of PMI or Association Manager.

Both receive a very symbolic medal, “in homage to your merits and as a testimony of the nation’s recognition”, repeated the Minister for all. The bravest take the floor, like Sabrina Verrier, mother of three and widow of a soldier, who calls on us not to forget the soldiers. Mobile phones capture the moment.

child protection

Child protection specialists were also honored for the first time this year. Among them Marie-Paule Martin-Blachais, responsible for a pioneering work on the welfare of the child in child protection, handed over to the previous government in 2017.

Others are less well known, such as Patricia Le Gall du Tertre, former host family. Now retired, she came with her husband, their sons, but also Corentin, one of the 30 foster children she helped raise. She is happy to be part of it and sees it as recognition for her often misunderstood but indispensable profession. “I got married when I was 18 She says. I always knew that one day I would be a foster family, but I waited until my own children are grown: I started when I was 40. I hosted thirty. » She fondly remembers those years “although I also know everything that needs to be done to improve reception quality”. An experience now celebrated as it should be.

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