#mcsayouthintervention

The Montreal Council of Social Agencies and its Effect on Youth Crime and Drug Use

Philosophy of the MCSA

The post-second world war era ushered in a welfare state mentality. The broad view of the philosophies that drove this movement were based on “province building” across Canada and encouraged state welfare agencies. Legislation, organizations, and policies were created to implement social change and thus social agencies were created to do the work on the ground.(1)

The major umbrella organization specific to the Montreal region known as The Montreal Council of Social Agencies, released a pamphlet titled “What is in a Name?” explaining their philosophies in the form of a mission statement: “Discovering and evaluating needs; Planning, coordinating and developing programs required; Informing the public regarding existing and needed programs; seeking adequate support for essential programs, including social legislation where indicated.” (2). Beyond the mission statements of the agencies was the ulterior social philosophy prevalent at the time; the belief that certain trends in youth behaviour was corroding the morality of society. For example, adolescents’ increasingly casual attitude toward sexuality was seen as problematic and causing social ills.(3) Other groups, including religious organizations, politicians and social welfare agencies had normative philosophies regarding youth crime and delinquency which likely influenced the main objectives of social agencies in Montreal.

The philosophies that inspired the social agency J.O.Y was rooted in addressing the underlying social problems connected to youth crime and welfare. Their belief was that if the needs of Montreal’s youth were adequately addressed that social ills, such as crime, drug and alcohol abuse, and other delinquent behaviors would subside. Their goals reflect their philosophy: Housing, food, health, information and referral, short and long term jobs, runaway counseling, co-ops, education and counselling.(4). These planned programmes of welfare were the foundation with which these social agencies were created. The agencies were aware that “features of the working-class life-poverty, desertion, lack of education-caused delinquency”(5) and sought to address these issues in order to remedy the problem of youth crime and delinquency. Organizations such as J.O.Y spurred the creation of numerous other social agencies with shared philosophies such as Y.E.S and later the Y.M.C.A.

 

Footnotes

(1)   Young, R. A., Philippe Faucher, and André Blais. “The Concept of Province-Building: A CritiqueAuthor.” Canadian Journal of Political Science (Canadian Political Science Association and the Société québécoise de science politique) 17, no. 4 (December 1984): 783-818.

(2)   Montreal Council of Social Agencies Pamphlet, 1956, File: What’s in the name, Box 1, Montreal Council of Social Agencies (Pre-Centreaide) Fonds, McGill University Archives.

(3)   Myers, Tamara. “Embodying Delinquency: Boys’ Bodies, Sexuality, and Juvenile Justice History in Early-Twentieth-Century Quebec.” Journal of the History of Sexuality (University of Texas Press) 14, no. 4 (October 2005): 383-414.

(4)   Joint Organization for Youth 1969-1970, 1970, Youth Services General Info, Box: 20, File: Government correspondence in Quebec, Montreal Social Agencies, McGill University Archives.

(5)   Myers, Tamara. “Embodying Delinquency: Boys’ Bodies, Sexuality, and Juvenile Justice History in Early-Twentieth-Century Quebec.” Journal of the History of Sexuality (University of Texas Press) 14, no. 4 (October 2005): 383-414.

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