In the past year, the Direction de la protection de la jeunesse (DPJ) recorded a 12.5% increase in reports across the province compared to 2020.
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Despite this increase, the number of retained cases decreased by 2.3% for the same period. This is one of the findings made by the DPJ, which unveiled its annual report for 2021 on Tuesday morning. A third of the reports came from employees of public bodies.
“It is a rise that is concerning, but in itself it is not necessarily bad news. It means that as a population, collectively, we are all concerned about our children, ”explained Assunta Gallo, director of youth protection, CIUSSS Centre-Sud-de-l’île-de-Montréal.
Across Quebec, 132,632 reports were recorded, of which 43,688 were retained. The retention rate for reports is 33%.
For Montreal, 17,612 reports were made, including 6,607 that were retained. The majority of these involved “Psychological Abuse”, or physical abuse.
Ms. Gallo indicates that her management wants to work more on prevention, and that initiatives have been put in place to this effect.
“[L’appel à la DPJ] should always be the last resort. To keep it that way, we need to strengthen the services that are offered in the community,” she explained.
The shortage of personnel, visible in many sectors in Quebec, also affects the DPJ in Montreal. At the CIUSSS Centre-Sud, 19 positions remain to be filled. "We do everything, and we work with the union to become attractive and recruit stakeholders," said Ms. Gallo, indicating that the work is done on a "daily" basis.
However, the situation is causing the queue to get longer. Currently, 463 children are waiting at the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud.
"We don't want any child to be left behind. We know that when the population calls us, it is because they are concerned for the children and they believe that there is distress, “said Ms. Gallo.