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What is the role of the Advocate for Children?

Verified 24 January 2020 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

The Ombudsman may be seized when a child's rights are not respected or when a situation affects his or her interests.

The Advocate intervenes in the following areas:

  • Adoption and collection of children (for example, adopted children who are stuck in their country of origin because they do not have an exit visa)
  • Criminal Justice
  • Foreign minors (children placed with their parents in detention centers, access to schooling for some children...)
  • Child protection (referral to relevant services such as child welfare)
  • Health and disability (medical care for disabled children, etc.)
  • Education (early childhood, schooling, extracurricular)

The Advocate shall have jurisdiction to examine situations:

  • French and foreign children living in France,
  • and French children living abroad.

The Defender of Rights may be seized of:

  • by the child himself,
  • by the parent(s) or family member or legal representative (e.g. guardian) of the child,
  • by a representative of a medical or social service,
  • by an association for the defense of the rights of the child, regularly declared for at least 5 years.
On site

You can meet directly with the local representative of the Defender of Rights. It receives complaints and responds to requests at reception points.

By mail

The complaint may be addressed directly to the Ombudsman by letter, preferably by registered letter with notice of receipt.

Who shall I contact


if the claim is made by a minor, the Defender of Rights may inform his or her parent or legal representative and the authorities may intervene in his or her interest.

The Defender of Rights may also take action ex officio when he considers that his intervention is necessary.


The Rights Defender seeks the most child-friendly solution.

When investigating a claim, the Defender of Rights may request the disclosure of any material or information, without the secrecy being precluded.

It may inform:

  • the judicial authorities, if the case can justify a investment measure or concerns a minor involved in an ongoing procedure,
  • or the department's services, if the case involves the intervention of the child welfare service (Ase).

The Advocate may make general recommendations (important issues) and propose any amendments to legislation.


referral to the Ombudsman shall not interrupt the time-limits for bringing proceedings before the competent courts.