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Troubled Youth

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Childhood and adolescence are crucial stages in human development. In our society, most children and adolescents grow up in a healthy environment, integrate well into society and are able to have their needs met. The majority obtain the resources they require for their health, safety, well-being and development from their parents, families and communities.

However, a minority of children and adolescents are unfortunately living in great distress. Their problems are sometimes severe enough to impede their development as well as their ability to find a place in society.

Each year, approximately 100,000 calls are placed to Québec youth protection center External link (French only) by parents who are at the end of their rope or neighbours, teachers, police officers and health professionals who have cause for concern. Of these calls, which are often cries for help, about half or 50,000 are reported to youth protection services. Following an assessment, approximately 25,000 will be followed up because the safety or development of the child is deemed to be endangered. When the youth center cannot intervene because a child's or youth's situation does not meet legislative requirements, the user is normally referred to a Centre de santé et de services sociaux (CSSS) to receive the services that they need.

Programs and Services

CLSCs offer a variety of services to children, adolescents and their families. These include preventive, screening and intervention services that focus on the following problems:

  • Developmental delays in children
  • Violent and aggressive behaviour of children and adolescents
  • Academic failure and dropout
  • Drug addiction
  • Mental health problems
  • Adjustment difficulties following family breakups
  • Hyperactivity
  • Difficult parent/child relationships
  • Suicide ideation in a young person

When a child's safety or development is compromised, the Director of Youth Protection must intervene. Neglect, intrafamilial sexual abuse, physical mistreatment, abandonment, deprivation of material living conditions, risk of moral or physical danger, and exploitation are problems that require the Director's intervention.

These problems can manifest in a number of ways:

  • A young neglected child who does not receive the health care required by their condition
  • A child who, given their age, is left alone without supervision for long periods of time
  • A young victim of intrafamilial sexual abuse (French only)
  • A mistreated child
  • A teenager with behavior disorders that put their safety at risk

The list is long, but behind each situation, there is a child and family that is suffering.

The Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux has conducted public communication campaigns in support of its policies:

Laws and rules

Sites of Interest to Young People:

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