Recommendations for Quebec youth protection system will leave racialized children behind: advocates
MONTREAL -- Those who have worked with racialized families in Quebec say they feel forgotten by the Laurent Commission’s findings and fear the recommendations will continue to unfairly target Black children.
Research shows Black children in Quebec are five times more likely to end up in youth protection than white children. The reason for that, according to those who work with Black families, is racism, particularly in schools.
"What we see is children who suffer from trauma who are removed from their families not knowing why they are not being picked up at school or why they're not going home," said Tiffany Callender, executive director of the Cote des Neiges Black Community Association
Advocates hoped the commission would address these issues, but instead it emphasized the need to improve cultural training for social workers and better collaboration with community groups—an oversimplification of what it means to be Black, according to Alicia Boatswain Kyte, a social worker with McGill University.
"By only focusing on limiting the experience of Blackness to one of new immigrant, you're not reflecting those immigrants who have been here for generations and who are Quebecers. The reason why they're not able to thrive within the Quebec society is not because of integration, but because of racism," she said.
Batshaw Youth and Family Centres said it is dealing with a lack of staff and has about 200 children waiting for services.
It has been working with community groups and said the commission's recommendation for more funding for these organizations is welcome, but acknowledged a lot more needs to be done.
"We initiate a dialogue with that family to try and steer them to this community organization to see if they are better served there as opposed to youth protection," she said. "So there are steps in that direction but there is still a long way to go."
The government promises an action plan based on the recommendations will come soon.
In the meantime, community groups are demanding to have a key role in the ambitious reform in the best interest of all children.