Eastern Townships youth protection branch put under trusteeship after another case of negligence

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The Eastern Townships branch of the Director of Youth Protection (DYP) was placed under trusteeship by the provincial government on Thursday after it was revealed the office waited months to investigate a case of child negligence.

Lionel Carmant, the Quebec deputy minister for health and social services, asked the department to place the youth protection office under trusteeship in response to a La Presse report on the case of serious child neglect, Carmant's press attaché said.

The same youth protection office was under fire last April following the death of a seven-year-old Granby girl who had been severely abused, even though her situation had been reported to the office.

La Presse revealed on Thursday that four brothers and sisters in Granby had to wait five months for the Eastern Townships DYP office to examine their case. In the meantime, the children were living in an unsanitary apartment filled with excrement from 12 dogs. The children were dirty, inadequately dressed for the weather and sometimes went without food.

Even after the fifth time, the family was reported to the youth protection office in February 2019, and it wasn't until July of that year that a caseworker was assigned and completed a report in August.

Valerie Assouline, the lawyer for the mother of the girl who died in Granby last year, said the branch has suffered from long-term mismanagement. In the most recent case, highlighted by La Presse, the DYP visited the home, saw the condition the children lived in and waited too long to act, she said.

"It's five months. They left the children five months in that state ... it's not normal. The duty and the obligation of the DYP is really to take care of cases like this one," she said, explaining that, in her experience, DYP workers didn't always focus on the most important cases. "There is a mismanagement of resources. We have a lot of caseworkers that supervise parents, are involved with parents that are not dangerous, that have not caused harm to their children, and we're missing these cases where there is really a danger." 

With files from CTV News Montreal.