The federal director of the DPJ was skinned for her statements about homelessness

Last week, Radio-Canada reported the results of a shock study that found 33% of former Department of Youth Protection (DPJ) youth had experienced at least one episode of homelessness before the age of 21.

Called for a response, Catherine Lemay, National Director for the Protection of Youth, reiterated that homelessness should be prevented it’s nothing new to the DPJ and there is recognized programs that do their job well.

I have a problem with thisreplies André Lebon, Régine Laurent’s right-hand man in the special commission for children’s rights and protection of minors, whose report was presented in 2021.

We cannot be content with what we are already doing because the portrait that is presented to us is that young people fail when they leave the institution! »

A quote from André Lebon, former Vice-President of the Special Commission for Children’s Rights and Youth Protection

André Lebon was Vice President of the Special Commission for Children’s Rights and Youth Protection.

Photo: Radio Canada / Ivanoh Demers

Ms. Lemay supported her statement with the example of the Youth Qualification Program (PQJ), which prepares young people in the DPJ for the transition to adult life.

Minister Lionel Carmant recently announced his intention to make this program accessible to as many young people as possible, as recommended by the Laurent Commission.

However, the Laurent Commission also proposed to go much further and create a new post-placement support programme, offered up to the age of 25, to help young people with income, housing, schooling and job qualifications.

Mr Lebon therefore judges in this way Lemay est un peu réducteur”,”text”:”le commentaire de MmeLemay est un peu réducteur”}}”>Ms. Lemay’s comment is a bit simplistic and considers it dangerous to claim that the PQJ will be enough to prevent homelessness.

She wants to share the good news, but her intention is to imply that we are in control of the situation and are doing whatever is necessary to rectify it. It’s missing a lot of adjustments to fix it! »

A quote from André Lebon, former Vice-President of the Special Commission for Children’s Rights and Youth Protection

It worries me a lot

Another key figure in the Laurent Commission, former Commissioner Lesley Hill, was also startled when he heard what the national youth protection director had said.

I think the problem is that it is presented as the only solution to the needs of these young people in the transition to adulthoodsaid Ms. Hill in reference to the PQJ.

When I hear this solution brought forward as an ending, it worries me greatly.She says.

It’s like we forgot all the other recommendations [de la commission Laurent]which are extremely important and I would like to say even more important! »

A quote from Lesley Hill, former Commissioner of the Special Commission on Children’s Rights and Protection of Minors

Lesley Hill, former Commissioner of the Special Commission on Children’s Rights and Protection of Minors

Photo: screenshot / zoom

According to Ms. Hill, the PQJ also offers ad hoc help. Even when young people need support, say, at age 21, their PQJ counselor can only direct them to other resources, she says.

:] \”Je suis mal pris, je suis dans la rue, je n’ai pas de logement\”, mais si on n’a pas de logements sociaux, si on n’a pas de solutions, c’est l’intervenant et le jeune qu’on met en échec!”,”text”:”On va avoir des intervenants PQJ qui reçoivent des appels [comme celui-ci:] \”Je suis mal pris, je suis dans la rue, je n’ai pas de logement\”, mais si on n’a pas de logements sociaux, si on n’a pas de solutions, c’est l’intervenant et le jeune qu’on met en échec!”}}”>We will have PQJ staff to take calls [comme celui-ci :] “I’m in trouble, I’m on the street, I don’t have a home” but if we don’t have social housing, if we don’t have solutions, it’s the workers and the young people who we defeat! she illustrates.

Ms. Hill thinks it stays a long way to go through so that after the age of 18 the DYP offers the same level of support as other provinces or other countries.

community equipment

Psychiatrist Amal Abdel-Baki, who works with homeless youth with addiction and mental health problems, says more than half of her patients have visited foster families, youth centers or a residential home.

While the PQJ has certainly enabled many young ex-placements to prepare for their transition into adulthood, Dr. Abdel-Baki that the majority of her patients never had access to it. But they are the most vulnerable.

What would sadden me is to say that we already have the right programs and we just need to expand them.laments Dr. Abdel Baki.

[Le PQJ] was created for young people willing to participate and collaborate. It was perhaps less suitable for young people who were in the competitive phase. »

A quote from dr Amal Abdel-Baki, psychiatrist and head of the youth psychiatric service at CHUM

Amal Abdel-Baki, psychiatrist and head of CHUM’s psychiatric youth service

Photo: Radio Canada

We know that young people who have experienced trauma, young people who have been placed in foster care, young people who have experienced abuse often tend to respond to authorities with, for example, hostile or suspicious behavior.She explains.

dr Abdel-Baki affirms that the community environment is sometimes better suited than the institutions to meet the needs of former DPJ youth. However, in order for them to adequately fulfill their role, they need better funding.

André Lebon adds that the DPJ not only has to prepare young people for the transition to adulthood. We also need to review the options for their care in group homes and rehabilitation centers.

the control of young people does not work: the aim should be to develop theirs autonomy, according to Mr. Lebon. Instead of striving for the Abitur at all costs, it would be better to support young people to gain qualifications in a professional field that attracts them, for example.

It would make a big difference if we applied the Laurent report’s recommendations, believes Mr. Lebon. Minister Lionel Carmant repeated this report just last week will not be a tablet.

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