France: Where Children Come First

Instead of just talking about family values, France offers a wide range of programs from the cradle to the grave to promote a more stable, equitable and caring society

SCHOOLTEACHERS LUC AND ISABELLE BENTZ are hardly extravagant. By day, both teach immigrant children in low-income districts of Paris. At night, the couple returns to the working-class suburb of Sarcelles where, across from a busy train station, they live in a three-bedroom apartment with their daughter and son, ages 3 years and 18 months. The flat is cozy but small, typical of the low-rent units constructed back in the 1950s to house French families repatriated from North Africa. Together, the Bentzes take home $3,600 a month, not a lot for a family of four. Yet they are thinking of having a...

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