The Director of Youth Protection (DYP) is the Quebec organization that gets involved if a child’s safety or development is in danger because of physical, sexual, psychological or other kinds of abuse. What the DYP does and the protection it puts in place depend on the child’s situation.
Evaluating a child’s situation
Usually the DYP takes action because it was informed about a child’s situation and is concerned for the child’s well-being. The DYP will evaluate the case based on different factors, including the seriousness of the situation and the child’s age.
The DYP will then decide whether to get involved and take action to protect the child.
Recommending an agreement with parents
The DYP can recommend that the parents and a child 14 years or older sign an “agreement on a short-term intervention” or an “agreement on voluntary measures” to protect the child. By signing this type of agreement, the parents recognize that the child’s safety or development is in danger, and they promise to follow the steps the DYP recommends.
The steps depend on the child’s situation. Here are examples: the child can’t have any contact with certain people, the child must go to school, the child will go live with a family member, the parents must meet with a social worker from the DYP.
The parents and a child 14 years or older who don’t agree with the recommended steps can refuse to sign the agreement. In this case, the DYP can suggest a different agreement or go to court and ask a judge to decide on the steps.
The length of all agreements put together is usually no more than two years. If the parents or child 14 years or older don’t follow the agreement and the child’s safety or development is still in danger, the DYP will ask the court to make a decision.
Going to court
The court will decide whether the DYP is right to think the child’s safety or development is in danger.
If the court decides that the child’s safety or development is in danger, it can order steps to protect the child. The parents must do what the court decides.
A bailiff will inform the parents if the DYP brings the case to court. (A bailiff is a kind of officer of the court.) The bailiff gives the parents a document with the date and time they must go to court, and the address of the courthouse and room number. The parents can be represented by a lawyer. The child can also have a lawyer, who is usually paid through legal aid (the government).
The DYP can step in quickly to protect a child as soon as it learns there’s an emergency. The DYP can immediately remove the child from the situation, or limit contact between the child and parents.
Because these are emergency steps, the parents can’t argue against them. But the emergency steps can only last up to 48 hours.
Once the emergency steps are over, the DYP can ask the parents to extend them. The DYP can also ask the court to extend the emergency steps.
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.