Montreal

Plans for upcoming hearings into youth protection services unveiled

The commission — created in response to the death of of a seven-year-old girl in Granby in April — will start next month and hear from youth, parents, families, experts, and case workers.

Commission will hear from dozens of groups in Montreal before travelling the province

The commission into youth protection services, from left, André Lebon, Régine Laurent, and Michel Rivard. (Charles Contant/CBC)

An upcoming commission will leave no stone unturned in its examination of the issues facing youth protection services in the province, according to the commission's chair.

The commission — created in response to the death of a seven-year-old girl in Granby in April — will hear from youth, parents, families, experts and case workers.

Chair Régine Laurent said there will also be public consultations across the province in an effort to identify the problems with Quebec's youth protection services.

More than 60 groups and individuals are slated to appear before the commission in the first few months, starting Oct. 22 in Montreal and continuing until December.

Laurent said she and two other commissioners, André Lebon and Michel Rivard, will look at every aspect of the laws, funding challenges and staffing shortages affecting youth protection.

It will also attempt to make recommendations so children do not end up in the system in the first place.

She said she plans to deliver "concrete and applicable" recommendations in the commission's final report.

How it will work

Up first will be young adults who have gone through the system, explained Lebon.

"They will talk to us about their experience as a child and adolescent, so it's important," he said.

In the new year, the commission will hold public hearings across the province.

Rivard said it's important to speak to people outside of Montreal, because youth protection services outside the metropolis often have less staff, less funds and work in entirely different conditions.

Lebon said the commission will draw on the work of the Viens Commission and the national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls when it comes to issues with youth protection services facing Indigenous communities.

He said they want to avoid doubling up on the work already done by those groups, but that their commission may make recommendations about issues facing Indigenous communities.

The girl in Granby was known to youth protection services at the time of her death. Premier François Legault launched the commission about a month after she died.

Its final report is expected to be delivered by November 2020.

Anyone wanting to share their story with the commission can email votrehistoire@csdepj.gouv.qc.ca or call 1-833-990-2443.

With files from Elias Abboud

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