The QAE Advocates for QAE Members, Batshaw employees and the clients of Batshaw.
Mr. Richard Legault, President of the Board of Directors
CIUSSS de L'Ouest-de l'île- de Montréal.
Dear Mr. Legault,
In June of 2017, our Coalition presented an open letter to the Board of the CIUSSS expressing concerns about the decline in the quality of services to youth and families and the dismal state of morale among employees of Batshaw Youth and Family Centers. At that time our members , representing youth in care and recent graduates of care as well as employees or retirees of the youth center, identified the April 2015 merger as the beginning of an erosion of programs, an elimination of essential services and positions, a decline in the quality of services still being offered and a deterioration in staff morale and workplace support.
In response, the Board of Directors advised a meeting with the directors of the youth center.
The Coalition representatives had two meetings with the directors. During these meetings the directors characterized the negativity of our members and the instability in services as a reflection of change and as a temporary situation during a transitional process .While the coalition recognized that some issues were related to inevitable adjustments ,they believed the merger had caused a fundamental shift in the mission and philosophy of Batshaw Youth and Family Centers and a permanent loss of some of its core values.
Today, three years after the merger, the associations’ members continue to describe a serious decline in services to clients and a devastating impact on staff. Collectively, we believe the underlying cause of this ongoing deterioration is a result of the merger and does not reflect on the management of the youth center.
A major concern is the waiting list of children who require protection and intervention. This list reached 300 this summer, the largest ever, and it continues to be dangerously long. Staffing ratios are as high as 1 worker to 27 families, making it a near impossibility to adequately and safely serve children at risk. Managers are required to supervise as many as 20 staff making clinical support more like crisis intervention. Several Clinical Activity Specialists positions go unfilled. There are many vacant positions at every level which has put an extra burden on the staff that remain. We have heard that recruitment is a problem due to a lack of potential applicants in the community. At the same time, we are told that there is a consistent turnover of new and long-term staff because of job dissatisfaction and workplace demands and stress.
The weakened infrastructure, the lack of human resource support and the mode of crisis intervention have taken a toll on the clients and staff of Batshaw Youth and Family Center.
They have had a direct impact on clients who often struggle with isolation, poverty, mental health problems and addiction. For the most part these children and families do not have a voice in our society's dialogue about consumer rights and quality of care.
On their behalf and on behalf of the staff of the youth center we ask three questions:
C.A.R.E. Jeunesse, Amanda Keller
Batshaw Alumni Association, Julia Paré
Quebec Association of Educators, Tony Maciocia
Cc. Judy Martin, Independent Member of the Board of Directors; Vigilance Committee for Quality and Services.
Cc. Ms. Katherine Moxness, Director of the Youth Program
Cc. Ms. Beverley Robinson, Associate Director, Youth Services and Clientele Trajectories
Cc. Ms. Linda See, Interim Director of Youth Protection/Provincial Director
Cc. Ms. Lynne McVey, President and CEO
After the response from CIUSSS, The Coalition is meeting with CEO Lynn McVey and some of her Directors in November 12, 2018 to discuss the measures they are proposing to help with the current situation and to here our suggestions.
Follow up from the CIUSSS General Meeting held at Lakeshore Hospital on June 14th 2017. Lynne McVey, Présidente-Directrice, Adjointe des Programmes Cliniques, and Katherine Moxness, Directrice du Programme Jeunesse, approached us, (Tony Maciocia, Melanie Fournier, Louise Jessop, Jennifer Cook) prior to the commencement of the General Meeting to introduce themselves. They indicated that they looked forward to meeting with the Coalition next week.
Jennifer Cook read the Coalition letter explaining who the Coalition represents and asked the first question. ( Read the letter here) “What concrete evidence can you give us that you are aware of the current crises in youth centers and what steps are being taken to rectify the situation?”
Benoit Morin, Président-Directeur Général, thanked us for coming and outlining our concerns, which they said they shared: Third year of operation, lot of changes, major hiring going on but difficult to find staff, youth and food issue being looked at, concern over staff morale but meeting with managers indicating improvements etc. They look forward to our return so we can monitor progress with them. They will follow up with a written response.
Representatives from Beaconsfield asked about the progress, or lack thereof, of the campus project and the waste, from their standpoint, of the postponement of its opening for taxpayers, community and kids in need of services. They received a sympathetic response which indicated there would be as much attention paid to the project as possible.
As a bonus, a new union president Ms. Gosselin, raised the results of staff surveys which indicate a significant number of staff report as being very stressed, etc. This union now includes Batshaw workers and she piggybacked on our letter to say that she was sure that Batshaw staff, who were not part of the survey, would clearly add to the concern for the psychological wellbeing of CIUSSS -ODIM staff. She was congratulated on her successful election result and told that the administration shared the union's concern and was looking forward to working with her and her membership.