"We have failed as a society": launched by the Quebec Youth Commission

We have failed as a society: launched by the Quebec Youth Commission

Nancy Audet's memory of the abuse she suffered as a child was thrown down the stairs of her family's living room in the village of Abitibi when she was about four years old, and then taken to a room.

"I remember being dragged to a bed where I spent several hours," Audet admitted on Tuesday of being abused in the hands of her mother. It was the opening day of a special provincial commission on youth protection and children's rights, set up in Granby in April following the death of a neglected girl.

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Audet said his father found him in his bed and took him to the hospital.

And when he spoke to the ER, his father said he told him confidentially that he had to lie about how he got there because the staff had wanted to call the police.

So Audet was sent home. And both physical and psychological abuse continued for years without the help or follow-up of Quebec's youth protection services, despite his suicidal thoughts as young as five years old, an anonymous tip to the authorities when he was seven, leading a "30-second meeting" between a mother and a youth worker escape, which resulted in short working hours in the youth protection center.

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"I was not monitored by a social worker, nor did I receive the services of a psychologist," Audet told the committee as a friend sat next to him for moral support. The friend he met at age 12 was a lighthouse during adolescence, Audet said, showing him that loving families exist.

According to Aude, he was able to finish school only with the help of a handful of caregivers, including his friend and parents, a teacher and a foster parent named Rose-Aimée, from high school, to university and to free himself.

Audet, a television sports journalist, left the 12-member committee in tears.
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The special committee will hold hearings until December. Its role is to examine youth protection services, the laws that govern them and the role of courts, social services and other interveners.

The Commission must submit its recommendations to the government by 30 November 2020.

"We have failed as a society. Our presence here today is a testament to the failure, "said Commission President Régine Laurent in a note he began in Montreal on the first day of the inquiry.

"The sad thing is that we have to be here today," Laurent said after the child died in Granby.

At the end of his opening speech, the emotional and hoarse Laurent named Créole a child as a child who could not be called Ti-Lilly, Granby's martyr, due to child protection laws. "

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"Since you died, I gave you the first name. You could have been my grandson. You would have turned eight a week ago. "
Prior to the Audit, the panel heard a committee of young adults who had spent years in the youth protection system.
One spoke of rape, the other of self-harm and segregation in a youth center.
Émilie Roy said she feels safe today with a keychain in her hand, as the keys mark the way out of the isolation device.
"The isolation units of youth centers need to be rethought from A to Z," he told the commission.

There was also talk of the difficult transition to the adult world after leaving the youth protection system at the age of 18 and suddenly finding no support or resources, and the challenges of finding work and accommodation and building social networks.

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Audet agreed that people involved in youth protection should be monitored after they reach adulthood.

He also suggested other areas for improvement. These include regular visits by social workers to problem homes, better prevention programs in deprived neighborhoods, and efforts to restore public confidence in Quebec's youth protection system.

Audet said she reconciled as a child and was ready to become a mother after starting work and could afford the services of psychologists. He added that overcoming shame and anxiety required hard work so that people around him would stop loving him and lose respect if they knew he had been abandoned.

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Even so, Audet only spoke about his experience six months ago.
"I told myself that I should set an example for the children who go through what I went through," she told the commission as she broke her voice.

"At the age of 42, I need to be able to support myself and be proud of my journey and be able to tell the children and adolescents under the Youth Protection Service today that it can be a great job and a lot of help. "

Presse Canadienne contributed to this report.

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