Using the institution to redefine family ties: child-parent groups, circa 1968

Family life in an institution
By Elsa Neuville

In the 1970s, “child-parent groups” were created in several French cities. They were opposed to the way municipal nurseries took care of children. By opposing the policy of excluding parents, which was still applied in most nurseries, these collectives became places for rethinking relations between families and institutions, and where new ways of transforming them on a daily basis were tested. These groups sometimes blurred the lines between an institution and an extended family. This extended family dimension also made them spaces where a transformation of the “patriarchal” family was sought, in particular through a greater involvement of fathers. Despite this context, it is difficult to measure whether actual transformations of family ties took place within the nuclear families that created these collectives.

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