An open letter from the youth protection directors of Québec
We are a group of twenty youth protection directors in the province of Québec. Each of us chose to dedicate our professional lives to our society’s children, and especially the most vulnerable among them, out of conviction and love. We believe they are what we hold as most precious in our society. This is why we have chosen to make them our personal priority. Looking after their well-being is a collective responsibility. However, our primary purpose is to ensure the protection of these children when the social safety net is not enough.
Like all citizens of Québec, we have no tolerance for any circumstance or event which endangers the lives of children. Since the announcement of this young girl’s death, we have all been deeply affected and troubled, as is each worker and manager in our services. Our thoughts are with this child and we offer our sympathies to her family and relatives. Such tragedies should never happen. Childhood is a critical stage in life, and all children deserve the chance to grow and evolve in a safe environment which fosters their optimal development.
Every day, throughout Québec, our workers are confronted with the harsh realities experienced by the most vulnerable children in our society: distress, poverty, mental illness, rejection, isolation and violence. In spite of the difficult circumstances they are faced with, these workers remain hopeful and ever devoted to offer the children and families in crisis the best services suited to meet their needs. Youth protection workers carry great responsibilities, but their dedication to the welfare of our children is equally great. Their job is very demanding, both emotionally and professionally. Thanks to their tireless efforts, the Youth Protection Act has protected thousands of Québec’s children each year.
We agree with what many workers and experts have expressed: to successfully fulfil our mission of protecting children, the social services network needs to be better supported. The way this support is structured needs to reflect our evolving society, advances in research, emerging issues and the current reality of the labour market. It is even more imperative, in this time, that as a society, we confirm our commitment to the protection of children as we did in 1979, when we adopted the Youth Protection Act. This commitment is required to reaffirm our collective belief that the protection of children is a social priority and that as such, the establishments charged with this mandate must be provided with the means to act quickly and employ best practice to protect the unfortunate children faced with maltreatment today.
Several inquiries will be conducted in order to understand the circumstances which led to the tragic events which took place in Granby. As always, and in the best interest of children, you can count on our unmitigated collaboration and contribution to these public inquiries, but also in implementing the eventual measures proposed to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again.
We will actively participate in the reviews announced by the government. Addressing child maltreatment requires an intensive, specialized and collective response, both in prevention and intervention. We will continue to strive, in collaboration with our partners, to offer our children the best protection possible. We take this opportunity to publicly invite the Québec government and society to declare youth protection as a national priority. As a society, we must unite to offer our children an attentive and watchful eye so that they may thrive in safety and security.
1. Anne Duret, DPJ\DP, CISSS du Bas-Saint-Laurent
2. Caroline Gaudreault, DPJ\DP, CIUSSS du Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean
3. Dominique Jobin, DPJ\DP, CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale
4. Robert Levasseur, DPJ\DP, CIUSSS de la Mauricie-et-Centre-du-Québec
5. Alain St-Pierre (intérim), DPJ\DP, CIUSSS de l’Estrie–CHUS
6. Assunta Gallo, DPJ\DP, CIUSSS Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal
7. Linda See, DPJ\DP, CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal
8. Michelyne Gagné, DPJ\DP, CISSS de l’Outaouais
9. Philippe Gagné, DPJ\DP, CISSS de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue
10. Marlene Gallagher, DPJ\DP, CISSS de la Côte-Nord
11. Michelle Frenette (intérim), DPJ\DP, CISSS de la Gaspésie
12. Caroline Brown, DPJ\DP, CISSS de Chaudière-Appalaches
13. Sonia Mailloux, DPJ\DP, CISSS de Laval
14. Maryse Olivier, DPJ\DP, CISSS de Lanaudière
15. Myriam Briand, DPJ\DP, CISSS des Laurentides
16. Josée Morneau, DPJ\DP, CISSS de la Montérégie-Est
17. Martin Carreau, DPJ\DP, Centre de santé de l’Ungava
18. Chantal Laverdure, Centre de santé Inuulitsivik
19. Alice Cleary, DPJ\DP, Service sociaux Atikamekw Onikam
20. Taria Matoush, DPJ\DP, Conseil Cri de la santé et des services sociaux de la Baie-Jame