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CanadaQuebec government seeks answers from youth protection after 7-year-old girl dies

00:50  02 may  2019
00:50  02 may  2019 Source:   msn.com

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The Quebec government wants a full accounting of what happened to a seven - year - old girl whose case had long been on the radar of youth protection Darcy said she had been in close contact with the victim’s paternal grandmother since November 2015 as she sought to regain access to the girl

The young girl died Tuesday in hospital, one day after being found at a home in Granby, Quebec . The province’s junior health minister has ordered a report into the case of a 7 - year - old girl whose death raised questions about whether Quebec ’s youth protection system failed to help her.

Quebec government seeks answers from youth protection after 7-year-old girl dies © Provided by Canadian Press Enterprises Inc

MONTREAL — The Quebec government wants a full accounting of what happened to a seven-year-old girl whose case had long been on the radar of youth protection officials before her death this week.

Lionel Carmant, the province's junior health minister, said Wednesday he has asked the regional health authority in Quebec's Eastern Townships to investigate and report back to him quickly.

Carmant confirmed that the girl, who died in hospital on Tuesday, had been known to youth protection officials from a very young age and that their most recent interaction with the child was just last month.

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READ MORE: Quebec government seeks answers from youth protection after 7 - year - old girl dies . Local police found the girl shortly before noon Carmant had previously confirmed the girl was known to youth protection workers from a very young age and that their last interaction with the child

of Montreal for a seven - year - old girl whose death has outraged the Quebec public and prompted an investigation into the province's youth protection system. The young girl died in hospital April 30, one day after police found her at a home in the city about 80 kilometres east of Montreal.

"The objective is to establish what actions could have been taken to avoid this situation," Carmant said of the report, which he said will remain confidential. "This is a priority issue for me."

Local police found the young girl shortly before noon Monday at a home in Granby, Que., about 80 kilometres east of Montreal. She died a day later in hospital.

Two adults — identified by people close to the family as the girl's father, 30, and his partner, 35 — were arrested and initially charged with unlawful confinement. The woman was also charged with aggravated assault. Both remain detained.

A spokesman for the prosecutor's office said the criminal case returns to a Granby courtroom on Thursday but couldn't say if new charges would come during the hearing in light of the girl's death. A publication ban prohibits identification of the accused and the victim.

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Carmant said preliminary findings clearly suggest there were problems with the management of the girl's case. The investigation he has ordered is one of three into the death — the province's human and youth rights commission confirmed it will investigate separately, and a criminal probe is being led by Quebec provincial police.

"I'm outraged by what I read today," Carmant said earlier in the day. "I don't understand how a child who was removed from school and whose grandparents tried to report the situation wasn't taken in by the system."

Carmant was blunt as he spoke to reporters in Quebec City: "Clearly, there were flaws."

The girl's death was heartbreaking for Karine Darcy, executive director of Aide, Conseils et Assistance aux Familles Quebecoises, a non-profit organization helping Quebec families.

She said she and family members had tried sounding the alarm about the girl's case, but their concerns were ignored.

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Darcy said she had been in close contact with the victim's paternal grandmother since November 2015 as she sought to regain access to the girl and her brother.

Darcy said the grandmother was worried about the youth protection decision allowing her son to have custody. "They were very, very worried for the health and safety of those kids," Darcy said of the family.

The grandmother hadn't seen the children for three years, and the young victim's biological mother hadn't seen her for a year before this week in hospital, Darcy said.

"We're all living with a lot of guilt," she said. "What could we have humanly done when we were completely ignored?"

In the neighbourhood where the youngster lived, locals came by to leave flowers and stuffed bears near the family home.

Officials at the Val-des-Cerfs school board, where the girl was a student, wouldn't confirm a report she had recently been pulled out to be home schooled. A spokeswoman for the board said teachers and students were being provided assistance to deal with the tragedy.

Alain Trudel, head of the local youth protection office in the Eastern Townships region, spoke in general terms about removing a child from her parents, saying such action is a last resort after weighing the options.

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"It takes facts, not perception," he said. "It takes facts that are imminent and real right now. And we have to consider when we take a child out, there's a consequence."

Trudel said his office is ready to take part in an investigation and called for restraint from the public, noting staff at the agency's Granby office had been inundated with harassing calls on Wednesday.

Helene David, the Liberal social services critic, said officials need to get to the bottom of what happened. She said it might be time to take a closer look at revamping youth protection and looking at resources, given the massive backlog in cases.

"The case was well known by the social services, so what happened that no one intervened?" David asked. "It's so sad. We don't want any of our kids to die like that."

Carmant said 3,300 youth-protection cases were on a provincial waiting list as of March 30, including 400 in the region where the girl died.

Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press

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