The foundation of Apprentis d‘Auteuil, created in Paris in 1866, now cares for nearly 30,000 young people and fragile families.A series of events mark this celebration. Here is a retrospective on that foundation.
Paris, March 19, 1866: countless numbers of street children wander aimlessly in the city. Many are arrested and sent to a juvenile prison in Paris. Father Louis Roussel takes in six children because he sees them as persons in their own right rather than vagabonds: this is the beginning of the Work of First Communion. He settled with them in an old house in the quarter of Auteuil, to the west of Paris. Ten years later, 200 children are educated and prepared for First Communion each year. However, the 1870 War triples the number of orphans. Father Roussel then decides to open his workshops to train orphans and teach them a trade. The Orphelins apprentis d’Auteuil (Orphans apprentices of Auteuil) are born. Father Roussel retired in 1895 and died two years later. Among his successors, the most famous is undoubtedly the today blessed Spiritan Father Daniel Brottier. When he arrives at Auteuil in 1923, faced with a volatile situation, the new manager must deploy all his skills to save the Orphelins apprentis d’Auteuil, who received recognition as a charitable foundation in 1929. In recent years, the number of young people accepted at Auteuil had doubled: from 250 to 500 apprentices. IN the face of the incessant influx, of "locales" are opened all over France. At the death of Father Brottier, in 1936, the work of Auteuil was caring for 1400 children. During and after World War II, the foundation greatly expanded, under the leadership of Father Marc Duval, the work‘s director from 1942 to 1962. Thanks to a dozen technical schools opened in 1954, the foundation gains the recognition of the National Ministry of Education. The locales become social homes for children, so that distance may be taken from the designation "orphanage." It becomes mixed and, starting in 2002, pregnant girls (minors) are also received. In 2010, the name was changed to Apprentis d’Auteuil. Today, nearly 25,000 young people with problems in school, social life and the family are received each year in its 230 schools. In addition, over 5000 families are supported in their educational role. Apprentis d’Auteuil is present in 45 departments in metropolitan France and overseas, working in partnership in 53 countries around the world.
The foundation Apprentis d’Auteuil supports parents by helping them in their educational role in a variety of structures. Among them are Homes for families, a structure created to help parents prevent major problems with their children or to overcome a difficult situation. The first Home for families was opened in 2009 in Grenoble, in the southeastern region of France, in partnership with the Catholic Relief Services. With the Homes for families, the foundation Apprentis d’Auteuil places itself in a co-constructive approach, while the families remain their children‘s primary educators. Moreover, these structures count on the families‘ ability to seek solutions to their problems together. The foundation also offers places where the families of children who have been placed may spend a day, a weekend or school holidays with them. Apprentis d’Auteuil now has a dozen homes in France and abroad, and a program has been launched to create another 35 Homes for families by 2017. These projects will be developed in partnership with other specialists involved in the field of social exclusion.
Finally, in France a hotline available where all parents, relatives or professionals can discuss the situation of a young person.