A Quebec Court judge is calling out the province's youth protection agency for "completely and totally abandoning" two boys from Drummondville for nearly a decade in a foster home she describes as "toxic."
"For several years, these children, with the consent and tolerance of the [youth protection agency], were exposed to an environment that was inadequate, inappropriate and dangerous for their emotional well-being," Judge Marie-Josée Ménard wrote in a decision last October made public this week.
Quebec's youth protection laws prevent the names of the boys and the foster family from being published.
"What did the agency do with these clear signals? NOTHING."- Judge Marie-Josée Ménard
The boys were two and six when they were placed with the family in 2008, and they were there for eight years. 
Their birth parents had drug problems, and the boys suffered through a number of "traumas" in their early lives, according to the decision.

Boys hit, isolated, humiliated in foster home

There were problems in the foster home almost immediately, the court documents show.
The foster parents spanked them and broke their toys as punishment. 
At one point, the foster father hit the older boy in the face.
The foster mother threatened to send the boy — who has severe ADHD — to a special facility.
The decision also said the boys were emotionally neglected and often humiliated by their foster parents.
DPJ mauricie
Judge Marie-Josée Ménard was critical of the Mauricie-Centre-du-Québec branch of the province's youth protection agency. (Radio-Canada)
During their last year in the home, the boys were forced to eat separately from the rest of the family.
Ménard wrote in her decision that, given the boys' traumatic early life, it was "as if history was repeating itself, but now with the consent of the agency."
The judgment noted that various case workers from youth protection were repeatedly made aware of various problems in the home over the eight years the boys lived there.
"What did the [youth protection agency] do with these clear signals? NOTHING," Ménard wrote in her decision, using capital letters to emphasize the point.
The decision said youth protection officials occasionally warned the foster family about certain failings, but there was never any follow-up or enforcement of the rules.
She points out it was only once the foster parents themselves asked for the children to be taken away that officials finally acted.
The judgment concluded the department failed to do its job. 
"One cannot explain, justify or tolerate the fact that the directorate was so passive in its interventions with these children," Ménard wrote.
It was, in fact, a plea from the foster family to the youth protection agency that ultimately led to the court hearing, the decision said.

Youth protection acknowledges errors

Mauricie-Centre-du-Québec regional youth protection director Gina Landry said the situation was unacceptable and she's working to improve communication within the department. 
In the decision, Landry admitted "critical information" about home visits was not shared properly between case workers.
She also said the family is no longer allowed to foster children.
"The family was evaluated, they changed things. The problem was that [the changes] did not last," said Landry.
A spokesperson for Quebec's families minister would not comment on the case.
The judge ordered the children transferred to another foster home and referred the matter to Quebec's Human Rights Commission for further investigation.
The judgment said the children are struggling to adapt to their latest foster family, and that despite the mistreatment they suffered, they sometimes miss the old family.
In her decision, Ménard said that in spite of the challenges, the new foster family is now offering the boys an environment that is "calm, predictable, and safe."
with files from Ainslie MacLellan