Early and concerted action

Early and concerted action

The APTS obtained a meeting on February 11 with the deputy minister of health and social services, Lionel Carmant, to discuss the situation in youth centres and rehabilitation centres for those with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorder.

I was pleasantly surprised to meet someone who is very receptive, attentive to problems experienced on the ground, and seemingly driven by a sincere wish to make improvements that will have a real impact on the well-being of children and their families. In my opinion, Minister Carmant and his team understood that reducing staff turnover and reducing the number of reported incidents have to be priority objectives. And the fact that they called us (at our suggestion) means that they are genuinely looking for solutions and strategies to meet these objectives.

It was a good time to request that a forum be created for exchanging views with the MSSS authorities, to help ensure better collaboration. Given that we share the concerns of young people and the personnel who come to their aid, it’s in our interest to develop a common analysis of the situation and arrive at solutions that can be implemented in youth centres.

The current situation of staff instability is largely a result of overwork and violence at work – problems that can be addressed if we work together.

We stressed that it is imperative to set up an effective communication channel between the two sides, as the MSSS has to be better informed of what personnel is experiencing on the ground, and much would be gained if its intentions were more clearly understood by managers.

Ten days earlier in Gatineau, Minister Carmant and Premier Legault announced the creation of the program Agir tôt improve early detection and intervention to address developmental delays among children before they start kindergarten. That’s the outcome of the CIRENE project conducted by Ste. Justine’s Hospital with three CLSCs from the Montréal area, while Dr. Carmant worked there as a pediatric neurologist.

The program will be rolled out in 11 regions this year and in six other regions in 2020, with a yearly budget of between $70 million and $90 million, depending on what’s in the first CAQ budget. To us, Mr. Carmant confirmed $40 million for this year.

Along with other measures, the Agir tôt program provides for 800 additional professional resources across Québec to work with children whose difficulties are detected thanks to an IT tool used as of their first vaccination visit when they are 18 months old.

The deputy minister promises full-time positions in various institutions. But is it realistic, in the context of staff shortages in certain professions, to recruit 400 people annually over the next two years, including a substantial number of specialized professionals? Time will tell.

For my part, I welcome these new investments in work involving prevention, which has been battered by austerity measures in the last number of years. APTS members have much to offer in this regard, through their professions. The deputy minister for social services and his cabinet have everything to gain in continuing this new dialogue.

by CAROLLE DUBÉ | February 21, 2019

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