Keywords: Childcare, Social Innovation, Local Governance, Non-profit Organization, Single Parents.
This article aims at understanding the role and evolution of social innovations within local childcare systems in France. Our results show that both the complex local governance of childcare services and the persistence of social and territorial inequalities give room to grassroots social innovation at the local level. Historically initiated by non-profit organisations, public policy reforms in the last decades have transformed the childcare system towards managerial performance and increased competition among providers that led to a more entrepreneurial and top-down conception of social innovation. Innovative childcare services are now driven by a diversity of promoters (non-profit, for-profit and municipal) and are becoming more functional than transformative as demonstrated in the case studies on childcare for single mothers seeking employment.