Two-year-old baby dies during youth protection intervention in Joliette

Police tape is seen in this file photo. (Kat Wilcox / Pexels)

A baby died on March 26 after Director of Youth Protection (DYP) workers left a residence in the middle of an intervention in Joliette.

According to a Radio-Canada report, the workers arrived at the home at 1:15 p.m. on March 26, but the parents were reluctant to let them enter. 

Once they did, the workers found four children in unsanitary conditions with infected face wounds, showing obvious signs of neglect.

At 2 p.m., the DYP decided to urgently place the children—a six-year-old boy, another two-year-old boy and two six-month-old twin girls—in foster care.

The two workers then left the residence for an hour. They alerted police to find a foster family and search for a vehicle equipped with car seats to transport the children quickly.

When they returned to the residence at 3 p.m., they saw an ambulance on site, in addition to the police. The two-year-old boy was in respiratory distress.

Camille Lambert Chan, the spokesperson for Minister of Health and Social Services Lionel Carmant confirmed with CTV News that the baby died on arrival at hospital from heart failure.

A criminal investigation and autopsy are underway.

INTERVENTION 2 MONTHS LATER

The DYP was first alerted of the family situation in January, but it only intervened in the past few days.

“Our most sincere condolences go out to the baby’s loved ones,” Steve Garceau of the Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux (APTS), a union representing DYP workers, told CTV News.

“Unfortunately, I’m convinced that cases like these will keep happening so long as there are long DYP waiting lists and delays. We have to keep in mind that a case can change dramatically months after its first evaluation,” said Garceau.

Lawyer Valerie Assouline, who has represented the mother and grandmother of the seven-year-old Granby girl whose death prompted an inquiry into Quebec’s youth protection, claims the DYP misallocates its resources.

“Everyday, I see the DYP stay involved in cases of parents who are not dangerous instead of focusing on emergencies, even during this pandemic, and children get [overlooked],” Assouline told CTV. “At the stage of evaluation [the DYP] needs to deploy their most experienced staff. There are no excuses.”

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