The commission responsible for looking into youth protection services in Quebec has issued five recommendations it wants the provincial government to implement as soon as possible.
Régine Laurent, a nurse and former labour leader who is heading the commission, presented a preliminary assessment of their findings since the probe started in late October.
“It is urgent,” she said. “Time is running out.”
The commission recommends the creation of a province-wide registry of pregnancies so that CLSCs can follow new mothers with children deemed at risk.
Quebec should also expand a program that helps teenagers in youth protection transition to adulthood, according to the inquiry. The program helps youth between the ages of 16 and 19.
Ahead of the next annual budget, the province is being urged to boost funding for prenatal and early childhood services that help children in difficulty across Quebec.
As part of its recommendations, the commission also suggests that the provincial government reserve and add, if necessary, more spots in public daycares for young at-risk children.
The Quebec government should provide $200,000 on an annual basis to community organizations based on helping families.
Lionel Carmant, the minister of health and social services in Quebec, said the province will analyze the commission’s recommendations and that the government is dedicated to providing more front-line services.
“We welcome them and we need to study them further,” he said. “What I like about them is they are all about prevention prior to youth protection and that’s what we’ve been saying.”
The review was prompted by the death of a seven-year-old girl in Granby who had been followed by youth protection services. She was found in critical condition in her family home on April 29 and died the next day.
In November, the province’s auditor general found the youth protection system is marred by a series of shortcomings and the way it functions is “flawed.”
The commission includes public hearings at which social workers, adolescents and employees of youth protection have been invited to appear. The commissioners have until Nov. 30, 2020 to provide their final report.
— With files from Global News’ Raquel Fletcher and the Canadian Press