Montreal’s youth protection program in the face of increasing demand, shortage of staff: report – Montreal


There were 323 incidents of child abuse reported every day in Quebec from 2020 to 2021, according to the annual report of Quebec directors of youth protection.

“Some of the calls we receive are more complex and the gravity of the situation is worse,” said director of youth protection Linda See of the CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-L’île-de-Montréal.

The report, released Wednesday morning, indicates that 741 children are currently stranded on the youth protection waiting list in Montreal, with nearly half of these children in the English system.

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See said that list has steadily climbed over the past six months, in part due to an increase in more serious cases, classified as codes 1 and 2, which have immediate priority over cases of code 3. Adding to the difficulty, the number of code 1 cases has recently doubled.

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“This has been an increase in relation to the pandemic where we have seen a lot of families in distress and it shows in marital problems and domestic violence and also neglect,” See said.

Coupled with urgent problems, the director of the West Island health agency faces a lack of staff capable of providing services. There are currently 26 job offers.

“It’s not a job that is very attractive to people to come. So I think that’s where we have a problem. And there are a lot of open jobs in other areas where social workers can work, ”she said.

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Native Women’s Shelter director Nakuset argued that she would be able to attract staff, especially Indigenous people, if Batshaw Youth and Family Centers were a more inclusive place to work. She says there is only one Indigenous employee and this is due to a lack of understanding of Indigenous culture.

“If the culture is oppressive. Why would anyone want to work there if you have social workers who are really comfortable speaking negatively about Indigenous peoples? ” she said. “It is a problem.”

In 2019, Nakuset co-wrote a report on Batshaw. The report details the problems with the youth protection service and proposes solutions aligned with the Viens Commission, none of which have yet been implemented.

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“Everyone is knocking on the door to do better. But concretely, steps, nothing happened, “she said.

Despite criticism, See insists there have been many successful interventions during the pandemic.

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