Experts: Laurent Commission on Children's Rights and Youth Protection

Published: 4 May 2021

Quebec is being called on to turn "anger into action" in a landmark report into the province's youth protection services, two years after the death of a seven-year-old girl in Granby shocked the public and raised questions about the system. The report, released on May 3, calls for a wide range of changes, including increased funding for preventive programs aimed at helping children in distress, an independent commissioner to oversee the youth projection system and a charter of children's rights. (CBC News)

Here are some experts from McGill University who can provide comment on this issue:

Cindy Blackstock, Full Professor, School of Social Work

I was pleased to testify at the Laurent Commission on the relationship between the ongoing cross-cutting inequalities in First Nations public services and the over-representation of First Nations children in care. I also highlighted how litigation via the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal is helping to remedy some of those inequalities and why implementation of recommendations in the Viens Commission and those tabled by the First Nations for Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission were critical to remedying the over-representation.”

Cindy Blackstock is a Full Professor in the School of Social Work and the Executive Director of First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada. A member of the Gitksan First Nation with 25 years of social work experience in child protection and indigenous children’s rights, her research interests include Indigenous theory and the identification and remediation of structural inequalities affecting First Nations children, youth and families.

cindy.blackstock [at] (English)

Alicia Boatswain-Kyte, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work

The Laurent Commission Report hits several marks but misses the one for Black children who have been overrepresented in Quebec’s child welfare system for 40 years. The failure to acknowledge the reality of systemic racism while simultaneously reducing Black experiences of social injustice to individual challenges of ‘adaptation’ and ‘acculturation’ is at the root of the problem. Ignoring this reality perpetuates the historic legacy of racism against Black children, their families, and communities.”

Alicia Boatswain-Kyte is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work. With over ten years of clinical experience working with marginalized individuals, families and groups, her research interests center around the systemic oppression of racialized individuals and how this contributes to their unequal representation within systems of social control.

alicia.kyte [at] (English, French)

Back to top