By tailoring early childcare services to family needs, Nantes aims to improve labour market access for women and single parents.
The district of Nantes Nord has the largest concentration of social housing in the city: 40% of the population is made up of single-parent families, mainly mothers, of which 71% live on low income levels.
The childcare services project in Nantes is coordinated by the early childhood department within the city’s general directorate for social cohesion. It targets families receiving income support benefits (RSA), where the parent or parents are seeking employment and need suitable childcare in order to hold down a job.
In order to meet parents’ needs the service manages 25 multi-purpose childcare centres, each varying in capacity and in the facilities they offer, including long term, short term, flexible and emergency care.
In 2011, Nantes set up a single service point, Relais Nord, to manage family requests for early childcare and identify the most suitable services on a case by case basis. All requests for places in childcare facilities are processed through this single point. If a place is not available then parents are helped to find an alternative solution. Since 2013 it also includes childcare services not managed by the city. This greatly simplifies the lives of families in the city, most notably single parents.
As a result of the scheme, 60 people, all women and mostly single parents, have been able to return to employment or undertake training. It has helped boost the local labour market and has had a positive impact on the lives of the women concerned. It has also had a positive effect on gender equality in the workforce.
For more information on adapting childcare services in Nantes, see p.14 of ‘Integrated services at local level’, available at the link below.