Optimômes provides childcare services for parents with non-traditional work hours in France.
Focus: Children and Youth
Geographic Area of Impact: France
Model: Hybrid Non-Profit
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 200 families in 2010
Annual Budget: US$ 1.8 Million
Percentage Earned Revenue: 100%
Recognition: Social Entrepreneur of the Year, France, 2007
Today, parents whose work requires them to be on the job during hours when traditional childcare is unavailable are forced to fend for themselves, relying on family and friends. Often children are left on their own or in the care of an elder sibling who is sometimes as young as five years of age. About 835,000 children in France under age three have parents working odd hours, but this number increases three-fold to 2.4 million when considering similar childcare needs up to age 13. Single-parent families also represent a rising social trend, accounting for 17% of French households; as this percentage increases so do the costs associated with childcare. Optimômes is working to bridge the gap in French childcare service provision.
Innovation and Activities
Anne Karine created OPTIMOMES to address these conflicts between professional and family life of parents who work, particularly those working complicated schedules who have young children. The economic model of this enterprise is based on this problem recognition, which is a precondition to all the contracts signed with private or public companies and public institutions.
OPTIMOMES helps parents care for their children during non-traditional working hours. Its success has been the result of placing families and their needs at the centre of its model. After a four-year pilot stage Stocchetti successfully applied for the European Union programme Equal, to replicate the OPTIMOMES model on a greater scale. To do so she created Optimômes Development and launched the GEPETTO network of childcare centres in the Brittany and Rhône areas of France.
These centres operate according to following principles: services are provided in the child’s home and as a complement to other existing services during regular hours; all children should have access to quality childcare at home also. Both services employ professionals only, are opened seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Families are invoiced based upon their incomes.
Since its launch in 2003, GEPETTO has benefited over 1,200 families and 1,800 children. Of those families, 60% are single-parent households, the majority headed by women, and 65% earn less than 1,000 euros per month. GEPETTO’s impact has been assessed by external evaluators, and indicates significant stability for children and better performances in school. Parents enjoy greater peace of mind, dramatic reductions in absenteeism and higher work productivity, which benefits their employers as well.
Today, GEPETTO has developed a new concept called ”la crêche solidaire”. During the day children are welcomed in small nurseries located in apartments specially designed for their needs. During early morning, late nights, week-ends or holidays GEPPETTO intervenes directly at the children's homes. Special personnel are employed and all activities coordinated to assure the biological rhythms of children are reserved.
Anne-Karine Stocchetti was born and raised in Paris and has three children. She first studied film, worked in film production companies and wrote scripts. She dreamed of becoming a film director but kept running into fundraising problems. She later became a stock trader but grew increasingly uneasy trying to balance work and family life. In 1991 she left her job and moved out of Paris to a small town where she created a childcare agency, quickly discovering the difficulties faced by parents working non-traditional hours. Their needs neither corresponded to the hours offered by childcare services nor the prices they could afford. Bolstered by this realization, she created OPTIMOMES in 1996.
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