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Quebec youth protection service is worse some say, two years after Laurent Commission report

By Felisha Adam Posted May 8, 2023, 3:19PM EDT. Last Updated May 8, 2023, 6:23PM EDT.

Two years after the Laurent Commission’s report into youth protection, sparked by the 2019 death of a seven-year-old Granby girl at the hands of her stepmother and father, those part of youth protection say the Quebec government has not prioritized the implementation of recommendations made by the report.

“I know from the government perspective, they have done some things to date, but the things they’ve done really have more to do with changes on paper,” said Varda Mann-Feder, Vice-President of the board at Care Jeunesse. “They haven’t really translated into concrete action on the ground.”

“Eight-five per cent of the employees at youth protection services said that either nothing had changed or that that conditions actually have gotten worse in the last two years,” said Jessica Goldschleger, Vice-President, Fédération des professionnèles – CSN. The 60 recommendations, include valuing and supporting youth protection workers, reviewing their workload and recognizing their specialized practice – something Goldschleger said has not happened.

“It’s a very hard environment to work in. It’s not just that the workload is very heavy, which it is, but it’s a stressful environment.”

“The workers are overburdened. They can’t provide enough support. The other thing we know is there’s very, very high staff turnover in these places,” added Mann-Feder.

CityNews reached out to the offices of Quebec’s Health and Social Services Minister Lionel Carmant’s office for comment, but did not hear back.

With many overworked and overburdened, Goldschleger adds that the inadequate conditions, have resulted in lower retention rates in staff, which may have severe detriments.

“Three hundred people, families, are awaiting verification. So that for sure is it might be an unsafe situation for certain children, but it’s also a very stressful situation for the families.”

With some children in unsafe situations at risk of being left behind. Goldschleger explains that incidents like the death of a seven-year-old Granby girl, left her in the custody of her father by youth protection despite several reports of violence, may happen again.

“They’re doing the best they can with the small resources they have. So I can’t say that it won’t happen again. I can’t say just because people are waiting for services that we can provide for them.”

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