Jerome Tisne via Getty Images
PARENTS – In France, on average, a child is killed by his parents every five days. The latest victim, Vanille, a year old, whose mother, suffering from psychiatric disorders, confessed to the murder Sunday, February 9. After being placed with a foster family, the little girl saw her mother a few hours a week in the maternal home for single mothers where she was accommodated.
If the precise circumstances of Vanille's death are not yet fully known, this infanticide poses at least one question: should the biological link be maintained at all costs to the detriment of the best interests of the child?
Best interests of the child
Invited to react to this tragedy, the Secretary of State in charge of child protection, Adrien Taquet, recalled that the psychological profile of the mother was known, before questioning him too. “There is a fundamental question which is effectively: how could it have been decided to entrust a child to a mother whose psychiatric profile actually seems complicated?”
“The last laws of 2007 and 2016 put the cursor back in the best interests of the child,” recalls Adrien Taquet before adding that “there is a time when you also come up against professional practices”. The best interests of the child is an international principle promulgated in Article 3-1 of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child adopted in 1989.
There are two scenarios for deciding to stop or limit the access rights of children in care. First, when a child is placed in child welfare, the services of the department can make this decision. Secondly and in most cases, it is a judge who issues a placement order and thus organizes the rest of the relationship between parents and child.
The co-founder of the association The Voice of the Child, Martine Brousse, interviewed by The HuffPost, also assures that like that of Vanilla, “these child deaths must be preventable. When the mother is in distress, in pain, she must be accompanied and the child must be protected. ”
Maintaining the biological link, a French specificity
Despite our legislative arsenal, France suffers from a system of thought that is struggling to be called into question. “We are today in a French society which places children as belonging to their parents”, explains Perrine Goulet, LREM MP and former child placed interviewed by The HuffPost. “And not the child as a single entity. I think that’s one of the biggest hurdles: being able to cut that parent-child bond a bit, when parents are unable to care for their child. ”
“We strive to maintain links that are sometimes toxic and traumatic”, was already indignant in 2015 the psychiatrist Pierre Lévy-Soussan, questioned in Point. “Let the judges impose mediated meetings between children and natural parents, even when the latter are mistreating, and that this gives chaotic paths which leave great consequences for these minors who have become adults.”
This is why Marine Brousse reminds that it is the fundamental needs of children that must be at the center of the debate, as ensured by the law of 2016. “The child is not the therapy of the parent”, insists she, denouncing cases of “fragile” parents to whom the child is left to avoid suicide.
“Vanilla's death is not a news item, it is a question,” she said. “To launch the debate, we must ask the question of parentage and above all that adult psychiatry is getting closer to child protection.”
For Adrien Taquet, the follow-up to the investigation will be able to lift the veil on the fate of Vanille: “Did the best interests of the child take precedence over the maintenance of the biological bond? When the mother, the father is toxic to the child, you have to know how to break this bond. ”These are vital details that may save future victims.
See also on The HuffPost: What we knowof the mother's profile of little Vanilla