Youth protection failed Granby girl, 7 who died last year: Youth Rights Commission
MONTREAL -- An investigation by Quebec’s youth rights commission into a little girl from Granby who died in 2019 has revealed the child was the victim of shortcomings at all stages of the clinical and legal process that aimed to protect her.
“How many more children will we have to mourn, how many children will be allow to be abused – victims of our tendency to trivialize the unacceptable,” said Suzanne Arpin, vice president of the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse in a statement on Tuesday.
“When will our system take the side of children and their rights?”
Due to the confidential nature of several elements of this investigation, the Commission noted that some information directly concerning her situation will not be made public.
In March, the girl's father and stepmother withdrew their preliminary investigation and were put on trial.
The girl's death and revelations about the treatment her endured shook Quebec and prompted the government to launch various initiatives, including establishing the Special Commission on Youth Protection, chaired by Régine Laurent.
The Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission also decided to conduct its own investigation, and published its recommendations on Tuesday.
The commission recommends there be a mandatory systematic evaluation of the child and that maximum placement delays be written in the Youth Protection Act as well as when a change in the child's living situation should be considered.
The report again notes that the child's point of view must be heard and taken into account. It suggests the child be met regularly, seen physically and that they are able to express themselves freely and confidentially to the people who work with them.
The Commission is also recommending that the health and social services minister look closely at working conditions for youth protection employees in order to tackle the issue of staff recruitment and retention.
To that end, the Commission is also recommending the minister of higher education design a Youth Protection Act training program that could be complementary to all university programs and could potentially lead to an authorization to exercise Director of Youth Protection powers.
Among the recommendations is also to review training programs for early childhood educators to include a module on youth protection.
Finally, the Commission is recommending reviewing the accreditation criteria for early childhood centres (CPEs) so that each receives training on the Youth Protection Act and on the obligation to report to professionals.
The Commission also said it is still awaiting follow-up concerning its recommendation to set up a mechanism within the integrated health and social services centres across Quebec aimed at expert consultations in child mistreatment.
The Commission said that for years, the people who work with the most vulnerable children in Quebec have lacked training, support and supervision.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 11, 2020.