According to the DPJ, 1,748 children have been taken care of in the last year in the region , a slight decrease of 1.4%.
The Abitibi-Témiscamingue Youth Center in Val-d'Or. (File photo)
Even though reports have not increased over the past year in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, the Department of Youth Protection (DPJ) s worried about the psychological distress experienced by young people.
The DPJ received a total of 4,054 reports in 2022-2023, exactly the same number as the previous year. Nearly 30% of the reports were upheld. This is an increase of 4.4%, but the trend has remained downward since 2020.
The files selected for evaluation present more complex and serious situations. It shows that our front line trajectory is more functional. Our local services are reaching more young people than before. This means that the files that end up in the services of the DPJ really have to find their way there, underlines Sylvie Leblond, interim regional director of youth protection.
L 'Abitibi-Témiscamingue remains above the provincial average for emergency placement measures, a statistic that is not unrelated to the increase in psychological distress among young people.
“Suicidal ideation marked our last year and it is concerning. »
— Sylvie Leblond, Acting Director of Youth Protection
Many children experience anxiety, discouragement and have dark thoughts. Even if parents and extended families want to help, they often feel helpless in the face of the scale of the phenomenon and recourse to emergency placement is often required, adds Ms. Leblond.
The staff shortage remains significant at the DPJ, which would need 60 more employees to fill all the services. Despite the use of independent labor, the region is lagging behind in the evaluation of files.
A total of 59 files are awaiting evaluation, 29 more than the theoretical target of the DPJ.
To prevent the situation from getting worse this summer, nearly 70 qualified employees working in the network raised their hands to participate in a blitz of reviews over the next weekend.