15 minutes north of Paris, in the Val d'Oise region, we meet six families who live in great financial and social difficulties. They are assisted by Janine B̌chet of NGO "ATD Quart Monde" whose job consists of maintaining the links among the families. During a period from Christmas to the following autumn, the documentary tells of the daily struggle of these families in order to secure for themselves what we all consider the strict essentials: decent housing, access to electricity and running water, getting back their children from social services and looking after them properly ... But despite their efforts, their situation improves little, and very slowly at best. Throughout the film, we accompany Janine on her voluntary mission visiting 'her' families. As the year goes by, she tells of the changes and speaks above all of her discussions with the families, who confide in her, and share their hopes and disappointments with Janine. "Tell our children that we tried very hard" is not a film about people on the fringes of society, but it's a film that has been made with them. It was important to us to document their daily efforts in order to improve their lives and, while doing so, we witnessed sequences that reveal a great deal on how little consideration our society has for those in need. Here, the families share their problems directly with the viewer. Our aim was not to show a humiliating misery, but to meet and listen to women and men who try to do as best they can.