Death of 7-year-old in Granby raises questions about youth protection services

The death of a 7-year-old girl in Granby this week is raising questions about the state of youth protection services in Quebec.

The young girl died in hospital on Tuesday, after being taken from a home a day earlier. She had apparently been tied to a bed, gagged and beaten.

Neighbors and family members, meanwhile, had suggested to media that the child was living in a dangerous situation, and that her father's girlfriend had been charged with assaulting her about a year ago. She was apparently later cleared of those charges.

Speaking in Quebec City on Wednesday, junior Health Minister Lionel Carmant says he wants to know why social services didn't intervene sooner in her case — when there were apparently many opportunities to do something.

He said youth protection services had been aware of problems in the girl's home for several months, and now, he's asked the Eastern Townships regional health board (the CIUSSS) to detail all of the interventions involving the girl, and to come up report within short order.

Carmant says in all, there are three separate investigations underway — the human rights commission is also looking into the matter, and also, there's the ongoing criminal investigation being conducted by the SQ.

Meanwhile, Liberal social services critic Hélène David insisted authorities knew the girl hadn't been to school for several weeks, and that the girl's grandmother was trying to get custody of the child because she didn't think her son was capable of caring for the girl properly.

"The case was well known by the social services so what happened for that and nobody intervened. It's so sad. We don't want any of our kids to die like that. It's so sad for Quebec society," David said.

The girl's father, as well as his girlfriend, were arraigned in a Granby courtroom Tuesday on charges of forcible confinement, with the woman facing an additional charge of aggravated assault. The hearing took place before word came of the girl's death.

They're both due back in court on Thursday, where it's likely they'll face additional charges.