Last September, when unveiling its annual report, the Director of Youth Protection observed a decrease in reports, as a result of the pandemic. What about six months later?
The return of children to school had a direct impact on the number of reports received by Youth Protection. According to Mrs. Marie-Josée Audette, new director of the DYP, this substantial increase can be explained by the fact that school workers are important advisors and informants. Note that the increase was observed compared to previous months when students did not attend their school environment as a result of the lockdown and summer break.
“I would say we have about the same number of reports as last year, at the same time. The difference is, they came in very close together. Currently, reports continue to enter in a very important way. We are currently seeing a large number of weekly reports. We are able to observe that the children are somewhat experiencing the effects of the pandemic”, says Mrs. Audette.
The director of the DYP stresses that the reports concern children who have lived in isolation and where there were no eyes to watch over them. The woman, therefore, refers to external observers coming in particular from schools or daycare centers. “The children remained a little more alone in a family environment, where there was, as you know, a lot of stress at work or simply because of the pandemic.” Mrs. Audette also stresses that it would be difficult to identify at this time, the number of reports related to the pandemic compared to other causes.
Asked if she is worried about the consequences that the pandemic could have if it continues, Mrs. Audette replied that she was certainly worried. However, she specifies that the return to school is reassuring. The impacts are much smaller since they socialize, continue their learning and receive the services they need.
How are the teenagers coping?
Mrs. Audette mentions that the pandemic had a different impact on teenagers since they were more home schooled. “There are many issues with it because friendship is crucial at this age. Friends are very important in their life.”
Regarding teenagers accommodated in youth centers, the director mentions that very quickly, from the first measures announced by the government, the DYP allowed its customers to benefit from home visits. “We have well informed the home environments, informed the youths. We gave them advice on how to follow health guidelines and protect themselves while protecting others as well. For young people in rehabilitation centers, it is almost a return to normal. When it is not, it is when a young person is either suspected or tested positive for COVID, at that point there is a period of lockdown.”