Can the Québec Ombudsman have a decision by the Directeur de la protection de la jeunesse (DPJ) overturned?
The first thing to remember is that, generally speaking, the Québec Ombudsman handles complaints concerning the Directeur de la protection de la jeunesse (DPJ) as a second instance. In other words, you have to take your complaint to the service quality and complaints commissioner first. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome (commissioner’s decision, grounds, attitude, processing time), then you can turn to the Québec Ombudsman.
However, the Québec Ombudsman cannot challenge a DPJ decision regarding, for example, the assessment of a report or any measure to help a young person and his or her family.
However, it can look into whether the administrative rules specific to DPJ operations were applied correctly for the case submitted to it. For example, did the caseworker check the facts thoroughly and gather all the information on the child’s situation? There is a procedure for this. Was it followed?
If necessary, the Québec Ombudsman recommends that the DPJ make the required changes.
If the DPJ and the parents of a child disagree about the child being removed from the family environment, for example, the Chambre de la jeunesse can hear the case and its decision is then applied by the DPJ. Here again, the Québec Ombudsman cannot act to have the decision overturned, but it can act concerning the DPJ’s compliance with rules and practices.