The Quebec government is stepping up its fight against youth runaways and teen prostitution.
The province says it will invest $11 million a year and will put in place a series of measures to reduce the number of youth runaways and teenage prostitutes across the province.
Part of the government’s 24-point action plan is to add new liaison agents throughout Quebec who will ensure better communication between all the parties.
It will add 63 new jobs in clinical supervision to support frontline workers and improve practices at youth centres.
Charlebois said the move will help young and overwhelmed workers stay in their jobs.
This comes two years after the government invested $3 million to deal with these issues.
Other measures had also been put in place after a highly publicized string of runaways in Laval.
At the time, Quebec appointed an auditor to look into the problem, and the action plan is based on his report.
“It’s not like we’ll re-invent everything but we’re adding critical resources to provide a difference, to make a difference where it has to be done,” said Martin Coiteux, Quebec’s public security minister.
Last November, Quebec’s Health Minister Gaetan Barrette promised $15 million to add 100 new psychologist jobs to the provinces’ youth centres.
Frontline workers say they welcome the news but are worried the money won’t make its way to where it matters the most.
“What we’re wondering is how this money is going to go directly to the people who intervene with the youth,” said Caroline Simoneau, an APTS union representative.
“So far, what we’ve heard is clinical supervision — it’s more like administrative but we wonder if the youth are going to see the difference directly.”
In another two years, the government says it will track its progress and improve its measures during a national forum.