Youth Protection | Children need a watchdog

The author reacts to Patrick Lagacé’s column “The tablet? »1saying he was also worried about the fate that could be reserved for the report of the Laurent commission on the direction of youth protection

Posted on February 18

Jean Pierre Hotte

Jean Pierre Hotte
Former Director General of the Association of Youth Centers of Quebec

There is indeed cause for concern. If we had to take only one recommendation from this report, it should be the appointment of a child welfare commissioner. Why ? Because that would be ensuring the vigilance of a guardian of the extraordinary legacy of the Laurent commission. Régine Laurent identified it as the “flagship” recommendation of her recent report to the Parliamentary Commission on Bill 15 aimed at modifying the Youth Protection Act.

Children need a voice, entirely dedicated to their well-being, independent, appointed by the National Assembly. A person with a vision on the situation of young people and not only on the direction of youth protection (DPJ).

A voice emphasizing the importance for our little ones to start off on the right foot in life. This is not the case for 27% of them currently and even for 33% in disadvantaged areas. A person who takes a critical look at the school with nearly 25% of students with disabilities or social maladjustments or learning difficulties (EHDAA in school jargon). A person who will watch over the obstacle course to get help for young people, especially in mental health, but also for parents who are at their wit’s end.

A person who pushes on the importance of the shortage of affordable housing and the implementation of solutions because it is a known risk factor for the development of children. A person who questions, who disturbs, but also, who proposes solutions to different departments: Family, Education, Aboriginal Affairs, Public Security, Municipal Affairs, Justice and, of course, Health and Social Services. A person who will ensure that investments are made in prevention, in support to curb the haemorrhage of reports to the DYP.

We are approaching 125,000 new reports this year. The Laurent commission recalled that recourse to the DYP must be “the exception” and compared its intervention to intensive health care. However, at this rate, we are heading straight for a collective failure whose victims will be these children.

We need a voice calling for collective action: community organizations, pediatric centres, childcare centres, schools, social services, health care institutions, municipalities, to stem the hemorrhage of reports to DYPs . In short, an architect ensuring the construction of a “society worthy of its children” and responding to the vibrant call of the Laurent commission.

Follow up on the cry from the heart of the Laurent commission

However, in the draft plan for implementing the recommendations of the Laurent commission, presented by Minister Lionel Carmant, it is only in the second phase of the plan – which has three – that the end lips what we intend to give as a follow-up to the cry from the heart of the Laurent commission, imploring that Quebec acquire “a voice for its children, and this, by the appointment of a Commissioner for Welfare and children’s rights”. Unfortunately, we are entitled to a very weak commitment, worded as follows: “Launch a project with regard to the Commissioner for the well-being and the rights of children. »

Reading this watered-down statement, we understand very well the frustration and discouragement expressed by the former vice-president of the Laurent commission, André Lebon. ⁠2

I dare to hope that the SOS launched by Mr. Lebon and the cruel concern raised by Patrick Lagacé in his column can at least save the post of Child Welfare Commissioner. These need a guard dog, the proof is made. It urges !

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