SUICIDE PREVENTION IN CHILD WELFARE: THE QUEBEC EXPERIENCE PROTECTING CHILDREN AND STAFF
In the year 2000, the Child Welfare System of Quebec implemented a Provincial Suicide Prevention Protocol. The goal of this Protocol was two-pronged: (a) heightened client safety, security, and treatment; and (b) heightened support to front line staff and better protection against vicarious traumatisation. From the vantage point of a participant-observer, the author uses Batshaw Youth and Family Centres as an example to illustrate the implementation and evolution of this Protocol. More specifically, the aim of this article is to demonstrate the benefits that clients and staff gain from such a Protocol. Further attention will be given to the impact this Protocol has on front line staff and second level team members intervening with suicidal clients, considerations that lessen the risks of vicarious traumatisation, as well as professional burnout. Statistics show there has been a decrease in suicidal gestures and attempts over the past decade following the Protocol’s implementation. Finally, the supports and debriefing foreseen in the Protocol are appreciated by staff, and further supports such as clinical consultation, (peer) supervision, and continuing education have been implemented.
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