Laval: teenagers in the Youth Center confined to rooms without windows

Teenagers placed in the Youth Center in Laval were confined to windowless rooms for 10 days due to COVID-19 although they were not infected with the virus.

• Read also: The pedagogy of (de)confinement

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The two-week rule was written specifically for youth centers but has also been applied to young children, social workers said.

“It’s like she’s been in jail,” a mother told CTV News.

Her 15-year-old daughter was placed in a center because she mutilated herself and ran away.

At the Youth Center of Notre-Dame-de-Laval, the establishment in which her daughter lives, teenage girls are particularly vulnerable and many live with serious mental health problems. Despite their low risk of exposure to COVID, they would have been confined 24 hours a day. The same situation was observed in a facility for boys and another dedicated for children aged six to 12.

The teenager’s mother, Nathalie, regrets that the Quebec government is putting in place this type of measure for the safety of children.

“I put her there to protect her,” she added as her daughter, Sabrina, has spent a total of 18 days confined to her room since Christmas.

“The bedroom doors weren’t locked, but they were if the teenage girls tried to get out,” Nathalie explained.

A measure of the government

In a press release, Laval public health explained that the establishments were only respecting the directives of the Ministry of Health. Indeed, the directive was launched on December 30, 2021 as Omicron hit the province hard. According to the latter, the ministry specified that young people considered to be in a “hot zone” should be isolated for a period of 10 days. Asymptomatic young people who have potentially been exposed to the virus fell into the “hot zone” category, it was specified.

However, some young people remained confined despite numerous negative tests. This is the case, in particular, of Sabrina who obtained four negative results during her 10 days of confinement.

It was social workers who convinced Quebec to turn around on January 13, 2022. They were troubled by what they were seeing.

Remember that the Department of Youth Protection (DPJ) has strict rules for the rooms of children placed in foster care. These must have a window.

Efforts to reduce the impact

The Laval Integrated Health and Social Services Center (CISSS) said that the staff made efforts to limit the impact of this measure on the mental health of young people.

Although the young people could not have a mobile phone or a computer, they had access to a portable DVD player. In addition, employees have volunteered to go and play social games in the rooms equipped with full protective gear.

The most disturbing thing for Nathalie was the absence of a window. The mother added that as a result of these events, the progress her daughter had made disappeared.

According to Robert Maranda, spokesman for the Ministry of Health, the new directive “takes into consideration the advantages of preventing the psychosocial deconditioning of young people compared to the possible consequences of being infected with COVID-19

“With the return to class, young people living in the same unit will now be considered a residential bubble,” the CISSS de Laval also mentioned in a press release.

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