Caroline Eliacheff

Private Lives: From the Child-Ruler to the Child-Victim Publication date : January 1, 1997

This book is the story of a day of consultations, and each session provides food for thought about such fundamental problems as child-abuse, insitutional violence or again, the place of children in society. The realm of the child king, much-loved but well-trained, has given way to that of the child victim. He has been granted rights, the statute of "person", but anyone who reads the story of Igor, Marie, Eve, Clara or Boris cannot say that everything is just great in the lives of our children. And so, the inevitable question is raised and Caroline Eliacheff endeavors to answer it : what can we do and what should we do ? Child abuse exists. Statistics prove that it does. Professionals know this, and the general public does too. We understand that certain instututions, Child Protection Agencies, try to protect children against the ill-treatments of which they are sometimes the victims, and if necessary, by separating them from their parents and placing them in an adoptive families to help them to blossom. But in what conditions, and to what degree, is social intervention in the private lives of these families legitimate ?The Judges of children's cases and social workers believe that they are doing what is right and this is often the case. But is it always in the best interests of the child ? This fact of attributing to parents the rle of "bad guys" is today so common that it too often includes other forms of violence, more discreet and insidious - in the first place, that of the institutions whose function is that of protecting children. How can we justify that children born into a family X be deprived of the information that could help them to construct their identity ? How can we accept the delays that the Justice imposes before authorizing an adoption ? Finally, is it normal that these State institutions be the sole judges, often basing their judgement on quite arbitrary criteria, to decide what is good for the child ?Caroline Eliacheff, psychoanalyst and child psychologist has already published, with Edition Odile Jacob, L'indomptables, figures de l'anorexie (The Untamable, the faces of Anorexia) (in collaboration with Ginette Raimbault) and A Corps et à Cris. (TITRE EN ANGLAIS?)