Relais Accueil Petite Enfance

Municipality of Nantes.
A project that helps mothers in vulnerable situations re-enter employment, education or training through offering a flexible and easy-to-access childcare service over an extensive period of time.
What solution does the innovation propose?

Relais Accueil Petite Enfance (the Early Childcare Service Point) places a strong focus on lifting barriers to employment and ensuring social inclusion through a flexible and responsive approach. With this aim, services are structured in a single access point that simplifies the lives of vulnerable parents, especially single mothers. Comprehensive childcare facilities and options are offered in a flexible way (for a few hours per day or on certain days of the week) in order that adults can attend job interviews or other commitments.


'Project of good practice', Eurocities network of the European Commission (2014). Presented at the European Convention Against Poverty (2014).

Impact evidence

  • 143 families accessed the service.
  • 75% to 80% of people who used the service had a ‘stabilising or positive impact’ on their lives.
  • From 2012 to 2014, the project helped 60 women to go back to employment, training or education.
How does it work?

The project targets families receiving income-support benefits. In 2011, the city set up a single service point to manage all the requests for early childcare and identify the most suitable services according to the needs of each family. These include multi-purpose childcare centres, each varying in the capacity and facilities offered, including long-term, short-term, flexible and emergency childcare. Centres offering emergency childcare can take children inat very short notice to cover an unforeseen event, such as a job interview or unexpected work obligations.

The project is at the crossroads of three public policies (early childhood, social protection and employment), what makes coordination between early childhood and social workers one of the keys to success.

Geographical scope

Where was initially developed
Nantes Nord.
Where has been implemented so far
Implemented throughout Nantes.
Last updated: 
June 2017