Child and Youth Advocacy Centre
The Child Witness Centre, working with five community partners, is opening a Child and Youth Advocacy Centre (CYAC) supporting Waterloo Region in 2016. The CYAC will be a child/youth-friendly hub where allegations of child abuse are investigated and children and youth affected by physical or sexual abuse, and their families, receive wraparound, child-specific support to help them heal from the trauma of child abuse and move toward a healthy future.
On average, at least once every single day of the year, a child or youth in Waterloo Region reports physical or sexual assault. Investigation of and support for these young people and their families can be fragmented and can be intimidating.
What is a CYAC?
This is a best practice model for investigation and support of kids who disclose child abuse or are affected by abuse. CYACs are a seamless, coordinated and collaborative approach to addressing the needs of these young people and their families.
Working together with CWC to develop the CYAC are the key community partners – Waterloo Regional Police Service ( WRPS), Family and Children’s Services (FACS) of the Waterloo Region, Office of the Crown Attorney, the Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centre (SA/DVTC) through St. Mary’s Hospital and Lutherwood. These partners represent the aspects of the CYAC that facilitate the investigation and wraparound care:
- Police and child welfare professionals jointly investigate allegations of child abuse in a comforting, confidential, child-friendly space, reducing the number of times and places a child needs to tell their story. These dedicated investigators are specially trained for interviewing children who report sexual or physical abuse.
- Child and Youth Advocates fill a gap in the community by walking with the child, youth and family from the time of disclosure until they no longer need the services of the CYAC. They provide advocacy, support and link them to services to help them begin to heal.
- A multidisciplinary team collaborates on a case by case basis to ensure kids and their families receive the support services they need regardless of whether charges are laid.
Services available May 2, 2016
Effective May 2, 2016 the CYAC opened with a ‘soft launch’. Dedicated Police, Family & Children’s Services investigators and Child and Youth Advocate staff working together at the Waterloo Regional Police North Division, and providing the CYAC services using upgraded facilities at Family and Children’s Services (FACS). A more permanent child friendly facility will be announced by the fall.
How do I access this help?
Support through the Child and Youth Advocacy Centre can initiated when you call Family & Children Services of Waterloo Region at 519-576-0540 or the Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) at (519) 653-7700 to report or disclose that a child or youth has been or is being physically or sexually abused.
How can I support this initiative?
More than 75% of the annual operating costs for the CYAC are funded with existing and re-deployed resources provided by key partners, however the community’s financial support is absolutely essential to bring the CYAC to our region. The Safe Hands-Strong Futures Community Campaign to raise a minimum of $2 Million in program funding will help transform how we support children and youth affected by physical or sexual abuse and their families. This campaign will enable the CWC to establish and sustain the Advocate Program, provide oversight to the Centre and support the ongoing work in the Child Witness Program, ensuring strong support of these victim and witnesses and their families for many years to come.
To learn more about you can help, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org – we would love to hear from you!
We acknowledge the financial support of the Department of Justice of Canada