Laval group home changes policy, will lock teens inside
Published Thursday, February 11, 2016 12:39PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 11, 2016 7:27PM EST
The doors at a Laval group home where multiple teenaged girls have runaway in the past two weeks are now locked.
The decision comes not from the provincial government, but from the social agency responsible for overseeing the youth centre.
Youth Minister Lucie Charlebois said the decision was taken specifically because of the high number of runaways.
"That's the PDG of the CIUSSS de Laval (director of the Laval integrated health and social service agency) that asked for that because it's a moment, special moment for the young people over there, for the youth, so they want to keep them calm," said Charlebois.
She said youth staying in the homes are still allowed to leave, but have to check with staff before going out.
"There's a guy at the end at the door and when they are authorized to get out, they can go out," said Charlebois.
Five teenaged girls with ties to the home have run away since the start of the month, and while four have been located one is still missing.
The parents of at least two of those girls say they are happy to hear that the doors are being locked.
For Marjolaine Aubé, locking the doors at the home around the clock gives her a sense of relief.
She’s been asking for the doors to be locked – her daughter has run away from the home six times.
“It’s a first step,” she says.
Several years ago the government changed the rules regarding youth homes to allow in and out privileges. The justification at the time was that intense surveillance was not effective, and that locking the troubled teens inside the group homes was a violation of their rights.
This week the provincial government announced it would appoint an auditor to oversee and investigate the Laval group home.
Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux said the province is also developing a program to deal with teenagers who are being targeted by gangs that want to sexually exploit them.