323 incidents of child abuse were reported every day in Quebec from 2020 to 2021, according to the annual report of Quebec’s directors of youth protection.
“Some of the calls we are receiving are more complex and the severity of the situation is worse,” said Youth Protection Director Linda See of CIUSSS de L’Ouest-de-L’île-de-Montréal.
The report, released Wednesday morning, said 741 children are currently trapped on Montreal’s youth protection waiting list, with about half of those children in the English system.
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See said the list has been steadily growing over the past six months, in part due to an increase in the most serious cases, classified as code 1 and 2, which take immediate priority over Code 3 cases. In addition to the difficulties, recently the number of Code 1 cases doubled.
“That has been an increase over the pandemic where we have seen many families in distress and it manifests itself through marital problems and spousal violence and neglect as well,” See said.
Along with urgent problems, the director of the West Island health agency is grappling with a lack of staff capable of providing services. There are currently 26 job offers.
“It is not a job that is very attractive to the people who come. So I think that’s where we have a problem. And there are many open jobs in other areas where social workers can work, ”he said.
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Native Women’s Shelter director Nakuset argued that they could attract staff, specifically indigenous people, if the Batshaw Youth and Family Centers were a more inclusive place to work. She says that there is only one indigenous employee and that has to do with a lack of understanding of indigenous culture.
“If the culture is oppressive. Why would anyone want to work there if they have social workers who are really comfortable speaking negatively about indigenous peoples? ” she said. “That is a problem.”
In 2019, Nakuset co-authored a report on Batshaw. The report detailed problems with the youth protection service and offered solutions aligned with the Viens Commission, none of which, it said, have yet been implemented.
“Everyone is knocking on the door to do better. But concretely, steps, nothing has happened ”, he said.
Despite criticism, See insists there have been numerous successful interventions during the pandemic.
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