The institutional sector
The institutional sector consists of a variety of resources from the health and social services sector. However, the following information pertains, in particular, to the Director of Youth Protection (DYP) and its youth centres, which play a decisive role in intervening among victims of sexual exploitation.
Their mandates, roles and responsibilities
A report must be made to the Director of Youth Protection when there is evidence to suggest that a young person’s safety or development is at risk.The Director of Youth Protection must determine if the report of this situation is valid, deal with it according to its level of priority, and take emergency measures if required. The Director must determine whether the safety or development of the youth is compromised. Action is taken to rectify the situation, as the matter could be brought before the court or be subject to voluntary measures, and the living conditions of the youth are then regularly reviewed.
In cases where the evaluation of a youth’s situation determines that their safety or development is compromised, the intervention worker’s mandate is first to ensure that the youth’s safety and development are restored. The intervention worker must then assist in keeping the youth in their home environment, as this is the preferred intervention. When conditions guaranteeing the safety of the youth cannot be met, the intervention worker must resort to placement resources that meet the health and protection needs of the youth.
Intervention worker’s testimony
“This means developing a common understanding while maintaining the special character of the intervention and combining the more structured and regulated intervention of institutions within the Youth Protection Act and the community approach, which is very different.”
— Institutional stakeholder
The DYP and youth centres are governed and organized by the Youth Protection Act. This act protects youth under the age of 18 who live in a situation that puts their safety or development at risk, and who have been the subject of a report to the DYP.
When the report of a situation is evaluated, the youth centre intervention worker participates in the multi-sectoral agreement in collaboration with the prosecutor and the investigator named in the file. The multi-sectoral agreement “is a collaborative mechanism that strives to guarantee better protection and provide the necessary assistance to children who are victims of sexual abuse or physical ill-treatment, or whose physical health is threatened by lack of appropriate care” (CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale, 2018, p. 61). Youth centres, law enforcement bodies and prosecutors are responsible for their enforcement in Quebec.
Types of professionals working there
In general, the professionals who work at the DYP or at youth centres consist of social workers, psychologists, psychoeducators, criminologists and sexologists working under the terms of their professional organization, or human relations agents, social assistance technicians, specialists in clinical activities, among others.
Their primary challenges
As a government organization, the DPJ and its youth centres are governed not only by the Youth Protection Act, but also by administrative regulations and procedures that may lead to a standardization of practices.
An increase in the number of reports combined with staff shortages and employee turnover are among the many reasons for some of the delays in processing reports to the DYP. There is a risk that intervention workers may be responsible for several files and lack resources, which is why it makes sense to collaborate with other organizations.
Do you want to find out more?
- CIUSSS Centre-Sud-de-l’île-de-Montréal. (s.d.). Signalement à la DPJ. Recovered from (link only in french)
- CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale. (2018). Manuel du formateur : Prévention et intervention en exploitation sexuelle et prostitution juvénile. Unpublished document (only in French).
- Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse du Québec. (s.d.). Droits de la jeunesse. Recovered from (link)
- Légis Québec. (2019). Loi sur la protection de la jeunesse. Recovered from (lien)
- Marion, E. (2018). Construire la collaboration intersectorielle pour favoriser la réussite scolaire des jeunes en situation de placement : naviguer entre problématisations et controverses (Thèse de doctorat, École nationale d’administration publique, Montréal, Québec). Recovered from (lien only in french)
- Ministère de la santé et des services sociaux. (2001). Entente multisectorielle relative aux enfants victimes d’abus sexuels, de mauvais traitements physiques ou d’une absence de soins menaçant leur santé physique. Recovered from (link only in french)