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DPJ children are less likely to graduate from high school

Vaseline 2 months ago

Children under the responsibility of the Youth Protection Directorate (DPJ) are less likely to complete their high school education than others, according to a study commissioned by the Quebec government published this week.

The study by researchers from several Quebec universities found that only 37% of foster youth had completed their high school diploma by age 21, compared to 86% of all other children.

It also appears that a third of these young people are unemployed, without education or training at the age of 21, compared to less than 10% for the general population of the same age.

“Due to the difficulties that these young people encounter in the labor market, we see institutional shortcomings that lead to disadvantages and notable social inequalities,” said María Eugenia Longo, professor at the National Institute for Scientific Research and one of the main authors of the study. a press release.

The research shows that more than 2,000 young people who leave the youth protection system each year need more support to prepare for adult life and to ensure they have a suitable, stable living environment as soon as possible after release.

Researchers also found that unstable living environments, such as changes in youth protection placements, make it more difficult for young people to stay in work, noting that young people still in care often had to leave their jobs or change schools when they moved.

Jessica Côté-Guimond, director of the Collectif Ex-Placé DPJ, emphasizes that children under the responsibility of the DPJ can live in five to nine different homes.

“Residential instability during placement is one of the strongest predictors of instability in adult life,” she said in an interview. She added that those who had more instability while in care were at greater risk of becoming homeless, developing mental health problems or “not having an education or job.”

Mme Côté-Guimond argued that young Quebecers in health care need more resources as they age out of the system.

“What this shows us is that there is a real lack of support, of support in terms of transitioning into adult life to help young people,” she said.

Mme Côté-Guimond said other provinces, such as British Columbia and Ontario, have done a better job helping children leave care. And while there is a program available in Quebec that provides financial assistance and mentoring, it only exists in four of the seventeen regions, creating disparities within the province.

She said support for young people should come from the Ministries of Education, Higher Education and Employment, as well as youth protection authorities.

More psychological support is also needed to help both children dealing with trauma and children with learning difficulties, she argued, adding that resources for these types of needs in schools are often limited. .

Many young people who come through the child welfare system end up in adult education programs that don’t provide the kind of specialized support they need, she said.

The study, conducted between February 2023 and February 2024, focused on data from 1,136 young people aged 16 to 24 who were or were receiving youth protection. The researchers also interviewed thirty of these young people.

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