Quebec's order of social workers says its members need more time and less pressure to properly do their jobs.
Order president Guylaine Ouimette held a press conference Friday in reaction to the death of a seven-year-old girl who had a long history with the province's youth protection system.
Local police found the girl shortly before noon Monday at a home in Granby, about 80 kilometres east of Montreal. She died a day later in hospital.
Two adults -- identified by people close to the family as the girl's father, 30, and his partner, 35 -- were arrested in connection with the death.
Ouimette did not want to comment directly on the girl's case because it involved members of the order.
But she says social workers are often in conflict between fulfilling their job descriptions and properly caring for young people and families.
On Saturday Liberal MNA Gaetan Barrette responded to accusations that austerity measures and reforms put in place during his tenure as health minister contributed to the death.
"That issue is a very clear and simple issue. It has no relationship with my reforms whatsover. This child, that went through a dramatic situation that ended in death, was taken care of by the system from birth. Birth was seven years ago. It has nothing to do with my reforms," he said.
"A judge made a decision to send that child back to that family. I say today that everybody did their job correctly in regards to the rules and laws in place. That points to the fact there's a problem with the law," he added.
Barrette said it's totally inappropriate to even suggest that Liberal policies played a role in the incident.
But Ouimette says the youth protection system in the province is in crisis - underfunded with long waits and high rates of staff brunout, she said.
Barette, however, said the current situation has nothing to do with Liberal reform, but rather, with the law.
"Everybody acted upon what's been accepted and put in law," he said.
(With files from The Canadian Press)