What is the role of the Ombudsman for Children's Rights?

Verified 17 January 2023 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

The Defender of Rights is an intermediary between you (adult or minor) and the administration. Among all its tasks, it must ensure the rights of the child and his or her interests. In principle, a child can seize it, particularly when he has difficulties with his parents or with the parents of a fellow student or with his school or an administration that wants to place him.

The Defender of Rights is competent to examine situations:

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

The Defender of Rights intervenes in the following areas:

  • Adoption and collection of children (e.g. adopted children stuck in their country of origin because they do not have an exit visa)
  • Justice responsible for enforcing the penalties arising from the Criminal Code (contravention, offense, crime)
  • Minor foreigners (children placed with their parents in an administrative detention center, access to the education of some children...)
  • Child protection (e.g. use of child welfare)
  • Health and disability (medical care for disabled children, etc.)
  • Education (early childhood, schooling, after school)

The Defender of Rights can be contacted:

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


if the complaint is made by a minor, the Defender of Rights may inform his or her parent or legal representative (such as his or her guardian) and the authorities may intervene in his or her interest.

The Defender of Rights may intervene on his own when he considers it necessary. It is said that he shall take it into its own motion.


the request made to the Defender of Rights shall not interrupt the time-limits for bringing an action before the courts (courts).

You can contact the Defender of Rights online, by mail, by phone, or go on site to meet with a territorial delegate.

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You can contact him online by completing the following complaint form:

Enter the Defender of Rights online

By mail or telephone

You can write to him by post, without needing to postage, by sending your letter to the following address:

Who shall I contact


you must attach to your email the photocopies parts related to your request.

The phone number allows you to get general information.

On the spot

You can go there to meet directly with a territorial delegate of the Defender of Rights.

He receives complaints and responds to requests at reception centers.

No, it is free of charge to bring an action before the Ombudsman.

The Defender of Rights seeks the most suitable solution for the child.

When investigating a complaint, the Defender of Rights may request the disclosure of any document or information, without the secrecy of the investigation being capable of opposing it.

It may inform:

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

The Defender of Rights may make general recommendations and propose any changes to legislation.

However, judges are not required to follow its recommendations.