More information about youth protection

CISSS de la Montérégie-Est

Faire un signalement à la DPJ

The mandate of Youth Protection

The Director of Youth Protection (DYP) oversees the application of the Youth Protection Act.

The DYP:

  • receives all reports concerning children who may be in need of protection;
  • evaluates each of these children’s situations and makes decisions to ensure their protection;
  • ensures that the interests of these children are safeguarded in accordance with their rights.

The DYP intervenes to protect children when their safety or development is compromised; in these situations, the child is considered to be in danger. The DYP intervenes primarily in situations where a child is:

  • abandoned;
  • neglected;
  • psychologically abused;
  • sexually abused;
  • physically abused;
  • exhibiting serious behavioural problems;
  • at serious risk of being neglected, or sexually or physically abused.

 

What is reporting?

Reporting means contacting the Director of Youth Protection (DYP) to inform them about a situation of concern that leads you to believe a child is in danger or that their development is compromised.

If you have reason to believe that a child’s safety or development is, or may be, compromised due to abandonment, neglect, sexual abuse, physical abuse, or psychological abuse, or if a child has behavioural problems, it is important to contact the DYP.

If you are a professional working with children, an employee in the health and social services network, a teacher, a police officer, or a daycare worker, you must, as part of your duties, make the DYP aware of any situation that falls under the YPA.

If you are concerned about a child but aren’t sure whether you need to file a report, contact the DYP about what steps to take.

To learn more, read the document entitled Filing a report with the DYP.

 

How do I file a report?

You can file a report with the DYP 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, by calling 1-800-361-5310.

When you file a report, you will be asked for the following information:

  • Your name and contact information. This information will remain confidential and cannot be disclosed.
  • All the information that will help identify the child, and the factors that lead you to believe their safety or development is, or may be, compromised.

 

Reasons to file a report

If a child’s safety or development is, or may be, compromised by:

  • abandonment;
  • neglect;
  • psychological abuse;
  • sexual abuse;
  • physical abuse;
  • or if the child has behavioural problems.

Abandonment

Abandonment refers to a situation in which a child’s parents are deceased or fail to provide for the child’s care, maintenance or education and those responsibilities are not assumed by another person in accordance with the child’s needs.

Some signs:

  • The child no longer lives with their parents and has no fixed address;
  • The child says they were kicked out of their home;
  • The parents are deceased and nobody else has assumed parental responsibilities.

Physical abuse

Physical abuse refers to : 

  • a situation in which the child is the victim of bodily injury or is subjected to unreasonable methods of upbringing by his parents or another person, and the child’s parents fail to take the necessary steps to put an end to the situation; or
  • a situation in which the child runs a serious risk of becoming the victim of bodily injury or being subjected to unreasonable methods of upbringing by his parents or another person, and the child’s parents fail to take the necessary steps to put an end to the situation.

Some signs:

  • The child has unexplained injuries, bruises or other signs of being hit;
  • The child has unexplained fractures or repeated injuries;
  • The child says his parents hit him when he disobeys;
  • The child says his parents have injured another child in the family;
  • The child flinches when you approach him quickly, as if he thinks you were going to hit him;
  • The child is aggressive with adults or peers;
  • The child refuses to undergo a medical examination;
  • The child displays sudden changes in behaviour (e.g., sudden drop in grades at school, loss of appetite);
  • The parents use unreasonable child-rearing or disciplinary practices (e.g., hitting the child with objects such as a belt or a stick, or confining the child to an enclosed space for long periods of time);
  • The parents give evasive or contradictory answers about the child’s injuries or behaviour;
  • The parents attempt to hide the child’s injuries.

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse refers to a situation in which the child is subjected to gestures of a sexual nature by the child’s parents or another person, with or without physical contact, including any form of sexual exploitation, and the child’s parents fail to take the necessary steps to put an end to the situation; or a situation in which the child runs a serious risk of being subjected to gestures of a sexual nature by the child’s parents or another person, with or without physical contact, including a serious risk of sexual exploitation, and the child’s parents fail to take the necessary steps to put an end to the situation. 

Some signs:

  • The child says that he has been subjected to sexual acts;
  • The child says he feels pain in his genital organs;
  • The child displays precocious sexual behaviour;
  • The child has knowledge about sexual acts that is inappropriate for his age;
  • The child has a sexually transmitted infection (STI);
  • The child claims to have been exposed to pornography;
  • The child says his parent does not respect his physical boundaries;
  • The child refuses to undergo a medical examination;
  • The child is afraid of one adult in particular;
  • The child displays sudden changes in behaviour (e.g., sudden drop in grades at school, loss of appetite);
  • The child suffers from incontinence, stomach aches, frequent vomiting, nightmares or insomnia;
  • The child has objects or money of unexplained origin;
  • An adult demonstrates unusual interest in the child.

Psychological ill-treatment abuse

Psychological ill-treatment refers to a situation in which a child is seriously or repeatedly subjected to behaviour on the part of the child’s parents or another person that could cause harm to the child, and the child’s parents fail to take the necessary steps to put an end to the situation. Such behaviour includes indifference, denigration, emotional rejection, excessive control, isolation, threats, exploitation, particularly if the child is forced to do work disproportionate to the child’s capacity, and exposure to conjugal or domestic violence.

Some signs:

  • The child often says he is worthless;
  • The child says he is not allowed to have friends, and seems socially isolated;
  • The child says he feels rejected by his parents;
  • The child often talks about death (in words or in drawings);
  • The child says he is tired and that he has to do work at home;
  • The child is afraid of one of his parents or of a person who lives with them;
  • The child is often exposed to conjugal or family violence (verbal, physical or psychological);
  • The child regularly witnesses criminal activities in the home;
  • The parents frequently belittle the child (e.g., hurtful comparisons, mean nicknames);
  • The parents constantly threaten the child, saying they’ll abandon them or put them in foster care.

In situations where a child is the victim of psychological abuse by a person other than their parents, the DPJ intervenes only when the parents do not take the necessary action to stop the abuse.

Neglect

Neglect refers to a situation in which the child’s parents or the person having custody of the child do not meet the child’s basic needs : 

  • failing to meet the child’s basic physical needs with respect to food, clothing, hygiene or lodging, taking into account their resources;
  • failing to give the child the care required for the child’s physical or mental health, or not allowing the child to receive such care;
  • failing to provide the child with the appropriate supervision or support, or failing to take the necessary steps to ensure that the child receives a proper education;
  • a situation in which there is a serious risk that a child’s parents or the person having custody of the child are not providing for the child’s basic physical, health and educational needs.

Some signs:

Physical neglect

  • No food, or insufficient or inadequate food;
  • Child is in constant search for food;
  • Constant lack of hygiene;
  • Inappropriate clothing for the season;
  • Squalid living environment;
  • Inappropriate living conditions, or conditions that present a risk of injury;
  • Dangerous substances or objects accessible to the child;
  • Lack of a family home.

Medical neglect

  • Severe malnutrition that may lead to health problems;
  • Untreated illnesses or injuries;
  • Parents’ or guardian’s refusal or failure to consult health professionals for the child’s basic needs (e.g., mental health problems; dental cavities; developmental delay; hearing, vision or motor skills impairment);
  • Inappropriate use of medication that could lead to serious consequences for the child.

Educational neglect

  • Lack of language, motor, social or intellectual stimulation for the child's, appropriate to his age group;
  • Inappropriate choice of babysitters;
  • Absence of a stable routine;
  • Child’s education limited or held back by the parents or guardian;
  • Lack of guidance by the child’s parents or guardian;
  • Lack of supervision by the child’s parents or guardian.

Serious behavioural disturbance

It refers to a situation in which a child behaves in such a way as to repeatedly or seriously undermine the child’s or others’ physical or psychological integrity, and the child’s parents fail to take the necessary steps to put an end to the situation or, if the child is 14 or over, the child objects to such steps.

Some signs:

  • The child isolates himself constantly (e.g., passivity, lack of friends, keeps to himself);
  • The child often shows uncontrollable aggression and violence;
  • The child abuses drugs or alcohol or has compulsive gambling problems;
  • The child self-mutilates;
  • The child exhibits suicidal behaviour;
  • The child adopts problematic eating habits (e.g., anorexia, bulimia);
  • The child exhibits inappropriate or risky sexual behaviour;
  • The child frequently runs away from home;
  • The child engages in persistent bullying;
  • The child spends time with people who are a negative influence and who aggravate his behavioural problems;
  • The parents have personal limits (e.g., excessive permissiveness, inconsistency, strictness);
  • The parents deny or downplay the situation;
  • The parents have given up on dealing with their child’s behaviour.

 

What happens after a report is filed?

A report has been filed with the DYP by someone who has reason to believe that a child’s safety or development is compromised.

 

1 - The report is received and processed

As soon as the DYP receives a report, it conducts a cursory evaluation of the situation. Depending on the information available at the time, the DYP decides to either retain or reject the report.

Report rejected

The DYP may consider from the start that there is no need to retain the report. For instance, this may happen when the facts reported do not allow the DYP to intervene. However, the parents or child in question may still need help.

Report retained

When a report about a child is retained, the DYP conducts a more in-depth assessment of the situation. Sometimes, immediate protective measures are necessary and are then taken by the DYP.

 

2 - The child’s situation is assessed

When the DYP carries out an assessment, it considers the following factors:

  • The nature, gravity, duration and frequency of the reported facts;
  • The child’s age and personality traits;
  • The parents’ ability and willingness to correct the situation;
  • The resources in the parents’ environment that may be able to help them.

After examining these factors, the DYP determines whether or not the child’s safety or development is compromised.

Safety or development not compromised

The DYP may consider that the child’s safety or development is not compromised and end the intervention. However, the parents or child may still need help.

Safety or development compromised

The DYP may consider that the child’s safety or development is compromised. It must then intervene to protect the child.

 

3 - Protective measures are identified 

When the DPJ considers that the child’s safety or development is compromised, it must determine the measures to take to protect the child and help the parents correct the situation.

At this stage, two situations may occur: an agreement on voluntary measures, or recourse to the courts.

 

4 - Protective measures are implemented 

Once an agreement on voluntary measures is reached, or following a court order, the family will meet regularly with a caseworker, who will help implement the protective measures needed to correct the situation.

Intervention plan

To implement the protective measures, the caseworker must develop an intervention plan (IP) with the family.

The plan sets out:

  • the needs of the child and the parents;
  • the chosen goals;
  • the methods to be used;
  • the duration of services to be provided by the Youth Centre.
Individualized service plan

Along with the intervention plan, an individualized service plan (ISP) may also be prepared if other aid resources, such as the child’s school, are required.

 

5 - The situation is reviewed 

Whether or not the child is placed in foster care, the DYP must periodically review the situation. It may decide to:

  • end the intervention, if the child’s safety or development is no longer compromised;
  • reach a new agreement on voluntary measures, or submit the situation to the courts;
  • review the choice of protective measures.

 

6 - The intervention is ended 

The DYP’s intervention ends when:

  • the report is not retained;
  • the child’s safety or development is not deemed to be compromised, or is no longer compromised;
  • the child reaches the age of 18.

 

7 - Liaison with aid resources 

Throughout the intervention and even after the DYP ends the intervention, the family may still need assistance. The DYP has a duty to help the family in various ways:

  • It must inform the family of available aid resources in their area, and explain how to access them (CISSS, community resources);
  • If the family agrees, the DYP must advise them and refer them to these aid resources by establishing initial contact;
  • If the family agrees, the DYP must convey the relevant information about the situation to the appropriate aid resource.

To learn more, read the brochure entitled Your child’s situation has been reported to the DYP.