Spread the love

Three years after the Laurent report, distress still omnipresent at the DPJ

Photo: Graham Hughes archives La Presse canadienne Le 3 mai 2021, Régine Laurent rendait public un rapport final truffé de critiques envers les conditions de travail des employés de la DPJ. Depuis, la détresse gangrène toujours le quotidien des travailleurs.

Three years after the submission of the Laurent report, distress still plagues the daily lives of workers at the Department of Youth Protection (DPJ), to the point where almost half of them could leave their jobs in the next two years, according to survey data obtained by Le Devoir.

The opinion survey, commissioned by the Order of Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapists of Quebec (OTSTCFQ) and conducted earlier this year by the firm CROP, concludes that 42% of DPJ social workers “consider it likely that [they] will change environment of practice” over the next 24 months.

A situation which can be explained in particular by the high turnover rate in the network, but also by the workload and the stress generated by practicing youth protection. According to the survey, “the average stress level among DPJ social workers is 7.4 on a scale of 10, compared to 6.2 among social workers in general.”

“It’s very worrying,” underlines the president of the OTSTCFQ, Pierre-Paul Malenfant, in an interview with Le Devoir. “Beyond having the heart on our sleeve to help people, when the workload and the practice conditions are too difficult, necessarily, we are human. »

Three years ago today, the Special Commission on the Rights of Children and Youth Protection, chaired by Régine Laurent, released a final report riddled with criticism of the working conditions of DPJ employees.

There has been — in fact, it continues — a desertion of staff to other establishments, such as the CLSCs

— Lucie Chainé

“We note that the workers suffer from the conditions in which they work,” it read. “It is crucial to review [their] workload and offer them the support and supervision they require. »

Three years later, it is clear that the actions of the CAQ government were “insufficient to reverse the situation”, underlines Mr. Malenfant at the other end from the thread.

He points to the survey data according to which “72% of social workers in DYP believe that access to services has deteriorated in recent years” , or even those who say that 79% of them do not have “enough time to devote” to each of their files.

“The Revolving Doors”

Trainer at the Order and former youth protection worker, Lucie Chainé “sees a lot of distress” among network workers during her training. “Then there was — in fact, it continues — a desertion of staff to other establishments, such as the CLSCs,” she observes.

Also according to data from the CROP survey, the more general results of which were made public in March, the number of social workers, all sectors combined, who are considering the idea of ​​leaving their job in Quebec is 16%, compared to the 42% of social workers working specifically in the youth protection network.

Exhausted in particular by the workload, Joana left her full-time job at the DPJ some time ago. This network worker, who preferred to withhold her last name for fear of reprisals from her employer, is able to see the impact of the “revolving door” phenomenon in youth protection.

“The workers who are currently there are young workers who, unlike me when I started, do not have the support and supervision of the older ones. I had experienced people who were there to guide me, help me to calm down and, above all, to ventilate,” she relates.

This is, however, specifically what young workers would need “in a context of emergency work” which requires knowledge of a law, the Youth Protection Act, according to Lucie Chainé.

“Some of them get burned, find it way too difficult. So, they quit their jobs,” she said.

A new deal

Although he is “aware” of the distress of social workers on the ground, the Minister responsible for Social Services, Lionel Carmant, is confident that the agreement in principle adopted at the beginning of the year by the Alliance du professional and technical health and social services personnel (APTS), who represent DPJ employees, will change the situation.

“The results of this probe could have been different if they had taken into account the progress made during the last negotiations,” underlined the elected CAQ member in a statement sent by his office. “With the new agreement, DPJ workers will be able to benefit from up to $20,000 more per year, in addition to benefiting from better support in carrying out their work. »

Last month, several speakers interviewed by Le Devoir claimed to have been “abandoned” in the agreements of principle of the Common Front. “People still remained satisfied with their appetite,” then indicated the president of the APTS, Robert Comeau.

The CROP survey cited by Le Devoir sets its maximum margin of error at 4.58%, based on a confidence level of 95%.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116