November 30, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Montreal, QC – Today Regine Laurent presented some preliminary findings of the Special Commission on the Rights of the Child and Youth Protection. Many of the points presented by CARE Jeunesse during the testimony of President Jennifer Dupuis were echoed by Mme. Laurent this morning. While the need to support young people aging out of care was mentioned, one important point that was not addressed was the urgent need to respond to the crisis that young people in the youth protection system are facing as a result of the pandemic. Unlike other provinces, Quebec has not imposed a moratorium on aging out during the pandemic, leaving many vulnerable young people who are already in challenging situations to age out at a time when resources are even less available. In addition, Quebec is the only province that does not offer extended care services, aside from a small specific group who are eligible for social support for an extra year, making the need to provide support now all the more urgent.
The Commission explained today that a National Director would oversee the youth protection agencies in the province, ensuring a uniformity of standards and application of the law. The need for uniformity is essential in the sense that the application of the law and methods of intervention differ greatly across the province. However, it will be necessary to ensure that there is a link between the director and the service recipients as well as the front-line interveners, otherwise this will simply create a new layer of bureaucracy to a system that has already suffered as a result of the new layer of bureaucracy that was created with the 2015 merger of Health and Social Services. Mme. Laurent did highlight the need to incorporate the voices of the young people and their families in the delivery of services, and this needs to be on-going and at every level. The service recipients need to be consulted regularly and amendments made to the application of the law and service delivery taking into account their experiences. Hopefully concrete recommendations will be made in April to explain how the National Director would ensure that these voices are heard and their suggestions are implemented.
While the Commission considered the importance of stability and continuity of service, there was no mention of how the high turn-over, burnout and overburdening of the front-line workers would be addressed. In order for stability and continuity of service to exist, those providing the services need to be equipped and adequately supported and compensated for the challenging work that they do.
We, again, call upon the Quebec government to impose a moratorium on aging out, as the stipulation in the law that mentions the possibility of a young person remaining in care is not uniformly interpreted and applied across the province. We look forward to seeing how the complete recommendations in April will ensure that young people aging out of care are adequately supported, those providing the services are adequately supported and how the bureaucratic barriers will be broken down to ensure optimal service delivery.