Quebec to investigate Laval group home after string of runaways

Lucie Charlebois, Quebec's minister for youth protection, says she'll send an auditor to the Centre Jeunesse de Laval to find out how five teenage girls could go missing in a single week.

Ministers Martin Coiteux and Lucie Charlebois say government acting after 5 girls go missing in a single week

Lucie Charlebois, Quebec's minister responsible for youth protection, said an auditor will investigate the Laval group home where 5 teenage girls went missing over the space of a week. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

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  • A Laval teen previously reported missing in this story has now been located by police.
  • CBC has removed her identity because she is in youth protection and is no longer missing.

The Quebec government says it's taking steps to address a string of runaways from a Laval group home.

Lucie Charlebois, Quebec's minister for youth protection, told a news conference this morning she'll send an auditor to the Centre Jeunesse de Laval to look into the matter, saying she wants an "independent" review.

"We have to make sure that all the girls [who] go into [youth protection] are sufficiently protected," Charlebois said in Quebec City.

Five teens who were staying at the group home have run away since late last month. 

Four have been found safe.

The recent string of disappearances has prompted advocates to call for a public inquiry into the centre.

'It's not only Laval'

Charlebois said the province is also reviewing protocols for group homes, including how to handle the problem of people using social media to reach out to vulnerable teenage girls.

She said the government will develop a provincial action plan after consultations.

"It's not only Laval. We're talking about young girls [across] the province," she said.

Quebec Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux said the situation in Laval is part of a bigger problem that needs to be looked at.

Coiteux insisted the Laval group home is "safe" but that one runaway case is "one case too many."

"The problem we face is a very complex one," he said.

On Monday, the PartiQuébécois called on the Liberal government to restore funding to the province's youth centres.

PQ MNA Jean-François Lisée said the province cut $20 million since coming to power.

He also wants the government to release a report commissioned by the PQ in 2013 looking into sexual exploitation of youth.

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