Chair of inquiry into youth protection services says Quebec society failed kids

MONTREAL — An inquiry into Quebec’s maligned youth protection system began Tuesday with a declaration from its chair that the exercise itself reflects a societal failure.

Regine Laurent said the very need for such a hearing is proof that society has failed kids. “It’s sad to have to be here today,” she said. “To be here today is a failure.”

The Quebec government in May announced the wide-ranging independent commission to look into youth protection services, following the alleged slaying of a seven-year-old girl from Granby, Que. She had been monitored by child services but nevertheless fell through the cracks.

While the death of the Granby girl was the impetus for the commission, the government has said it won’t be its sole focus.

But at the end of her opening statement, Laurent, her voice tinged with emotion, spoke of the young Granby victim, referring to her as “Tililly” — a name she gave her in Creole.

“My darling, I’m doing it for you. As soon as you died, I gave you a name. You could have been my granddaughter. You would have been 8 years old a week ago,” Laurent said, inviting those in the room to spare a thought for the young girl.

The inquiry will take a critical look at the legal framework around the youth protection system, including its funding and organization.

It heard first from several young adults who went through the system as children. They described the difficulties they encountered trying to establish themselves once released from youth protection at 18 years old.

Most described a difficult transition, with problems finding work, adequate housing, developing a social network or even dealing with emotional issues.

They suggested the government establish an ombudsman’s office for children services, which would include experts, researchers and others to advise the youth protection system. The witnesses also encouraged authorities to promote foster families and to offer more therapy or family mediation, in order to discourage parents from placing their children in state care.

They also highlighted the importance of community groups that can offer temporary lodging, help in finding work and in rebuilding self-confidence.

Laurent, a nurse and former labour leader, was picked by the Legault government to run the inquiry alongside other elected members of the legislature as well as with child services experts.

The inquiry must produce a report to the government by Nov. 30, 2020.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 22, 2019.

The Canadian Press

Quebec Youth Protection Service

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

In its place is employment insurance, which the government says the majority of people will go on

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Sept. 27

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00… Continue reading

WE Charity controversy prompts examination of group’s overseas footprint

On Sept. 9, WE Charity said it would wind down its Canadian operations

Two people dead after plane flying from Rocky Mountain House crashes

The Transportation Safety Board will be investigating

Annual Chili Cook Off raises money for Red Deer Hospice Society

The key to making a great chili is preparing the sauce first,… Continue reading

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

CALGARY — Canadian ski resort operators planning for a season that begins… Continue reading

Tenille Townes, Dean Brody and Brett Kissel top nominees at tonight’s CCMA Awards

OTTAWA — Tenille Townes could be lined up for some major wins… Continue reading

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

TERRACE, B.C. — Health care in the era of COVID-19 took centre… Continue reading

Watchdog to investigate fatal Winnipeg crash that sent two kids to hospital

Winnipeg police say a woman has died and five others — including… Continue reading

The ‘relentless underdog’: Green Leader Sonia Furstenau ready for uphill battle

Green Leader Sonia Furstenau was driving Monday when she turned on the… Continue reading

Mi’kmaq power, inside and beyond Ottawa, stronger than in past fishery battles

HALIFAX — When Jaime Battiste was in his early 20s, cable news… Continue reading

Author says acquittal on child pornography charges allows him to ‘breathe again’

‘It’s completely abhorrent to be accused without proof’

Montreal demonstrators demand climate justice a year after Greta Thunberg speech

MONTREAL — Demonstrators gathered in downtown Montreal on Saturday to protest planetary… Continue reading

Most Read