MONTREAL, Sept. 22, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Thirty-five years ago, in 1979, Quebec emerged as a ground-breaking entity with the enactment of its Youth Protection Act (YPA) - a critical turning point that recognized children as full and equal citizens. The YPA stipulated the appointment of a Director of Youth Protection (DYP) in every region of Quebec, who would be responsible for protecting all the children in his or her territory - a role that DYPs continue to play today with just as much vigour as in those early days.
In presenting their 11th annual report, the Directors of Youth Protection aim to stress the pressing need to ensure that children remain the top priority even as Quebec faces some tough financial choices.
Since 2010, the number of signalements reported has significantly increased (17,3%) province-wide, while institutions offering services to vulnerable children, youth and families have had to contend with budget cuts that are expected to continue.
In 2013-14, the DYPs handled 82,919 signalements - a 3% increase over the previous year. This figure translates to a daily average, in Quebec, of 227 cases reported.
Among these reports, the highest proportion of signalements retained were for negligence and serious risk of negligence - 35.8% across Quebec - while physical abuse and serious risk of physical abuse ranked a close second.
Significant progress, but challenges remain
Quebec has seen appreciable progress, over the past 35 years, in the work done to improve child protection and support for families. The YPA, as well as practices and forms of intervention, have evolved in step with new social realities: reconfigured family structures, recurrence of mental health problems and, more recently, honour-related violence.
Knowledge and expertise are the tools that enable more effective intervention and serve to better equip parents to meet their children's basic needs. The various partners have also been working more collaboratively, which has led to higher numbers of children remaining with their families.
Thirty-five years later, however, a world with no mistreated children remains a long way off. The thousands of signalements retained as cases every year, in Quebec, point to the need for maintaining and expanding the support and services network for highly vulnerable children and families.
Period of tough choices a cause for worry
DYPs, concerned about how socio-economic factors today impact the status and living conditions of vulnerable children, and about the importance of maintaining a service level adequate to protecting children and helping families, stress that children should be a national priority.
They invite our policymakers to keep in mind the impact of the longer-term social and financial costs resulting from child mistreatment, the lack of support and failure to meet children's and families' needs.
The 2013-14 DYP report can be accessed at www.acjq.qc.ca.
About the ACJQ
The Association des centres jeunesse du Québec comprises 16 youth centres, specialized establishments with a regional mandate, and health centres offering youth services in the North. The youth centres are responsible for administering the Youth Protection Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and adoption-related legislation. Their mission is to provide psychosocial or rehabilitation services to vulnerable children and youth, as well as their families, throughout Quebec.
SOURCE: Association des centres jeunesse du Québec (ACJQ)
For further information: Association des centres jeunesse du Québec (ACJQ), Marie-Hélène Juneau, 514 842-5181, extension 305 or 438 887-2077 | Centre jeunesse de Montréal - Institut universitaire, For Michelle Dionne, DYP, Jocelyne Boudreault: 514 593-3013 or 514 209-9943, [email protected], www.centrejeunessedemontreal.qc.ca | Batshaw Youth and Family Centres, For Madeleine Bérard, DYP, Claire Roy: 514 989-1885, extension 1017 or 514 260-7315, [email protected], www.batshaw.qc.ca | Centre jeunesse de Laval, For Jacques Dubé, DYP, Mathieu Vachon: 450 975-4150, extension 3803, [email protected], www.centrejeunessedelaval.ca | Les Centres jeunesse de Lanaudière, For Éric Salois, DYP, Mathieu Marsolais: 450 759-5333, extension 2119 or 450 803-6067, [email protected], www.centresjeunessedelanaudiere.qc.ca | Centre jeunesse de la Montérégie, For Maryse Davreux, DYP, Chantal Huot: 450 928-5125, extension 15003 or 514 713-4562, [email protected], www.centrejeunessemonteregie.qc.ca