“Because things have got to change”
In Quebec, the number of reports filed to the Director of Youth Protection (DYP) now outweigh the province’s birth rate. Most people would surely find this statistic incredibly alarming. Artist and television personality Anaïs Favron certainly isn’t prepared to let this appalling crisis go unnoticed. A number of influential Quebecers have stepped up to get involved, including politicians and well-known personalities. The organization channeling this surge of solidarity and this unprecedented campaign to stand up for the DYP’s youth is the Fondation des jeunes de la DPJ– an organization that serves to amplify the voices of the DYP’s youth. Anaïs has been named the foundation’s latest spokesperson; she is determined to turn things around and she’s ready to move mountains in the process.
“It’s time to get moving! Let’s go!”
Anaïs is calling on the people of Quebec to step up for the DYP’s youth. This is her urgent message: “We keep hearing about young people who find themselves in the DYP and our immediate reaction is to feel bad for them and act as if the situation has nothing to do with us. I accepted the role of spokesperson for the Fondation des jeunes de la DPJ to wake people up to the reality we’re facing here in Quebec. There are 45,000 children and youth in the DYP in this province and we have the power to turn things around for them!
“By pure chance, I was born into a loving, secure home. But many children find themselves abused, neglected, deprived, or in the care of parents struggling with addiction. These young people find themselves a few paces behind others on the start line of life. This doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t finish the race alongside other more fortunate Quebecers. But they need our help to level the playing field.
“The Fondation des jeunes de la DPJ provides concrete support that helps young people in the DYP grow self-belief. The foundation grants the DYP’s youth access to opportunities that many of us take lightly, like taking part in a soccer camp that allows a kid to see that despite their past trauma, they are still worthy of achievement; a bright future is within their grasp. From getting help to set up a first apartment to being able to imagine a hopeful future for ourselves, we all need a support team to back us as we transition into adulthood. The Foundation provides that essential backing. We all have the power to transform lives.”
An urgent need to take action
“Our organization is rapidly expanding its scope in response to the unprecedented need for youth support” says Fabienne Audette, Executive Director of the Fondation des jeunes de la DPJ.
Over the past few months, young people in the DYP’s care have found themselves facing crises of greater proportions than ever before. The realities they are up against have also become more complex. Pressures exacerbated by COVID-19 have led to many more high-conflict separations. COVID lockdowns also turned up the dial on domestic violence and mental health issues. When family units break down, children bear the brunt.
Physical abuse, psychological abuse, and neglect currently make up 64% of the DYP reports filed in Quebec. Last year, over 10,000 young people experienced physical abuse, 9,600 experienced neglect, and 2,900 suffered sexual abuse.
Moreover, young people who come of age and leave the DYP’s protection system find themselves in a more precarious position than ever when navigating this transition. Many face devastating psychological effects brought on by anxiety, depression, and extreme loneliness.
“We need to take immediate action to make sure that the numerous traumas that these young people have lived through don’t dictate their future” adds Fabienne Audette “while the public support system that surrounds these young people (and its reform) continue to make headlines, we want to get the message out that every single person can make a difference. As the holiday season approaches, we all have the power to effect change for the DYP’s youth”.