Waterloo Region Child and Youth Advocacy Centre
In the Waterloo Region Child and Youth Advocacy Centre (CYAC), specially-trained professionals investigate allegations of child abuse in a confidential, comforting, child/youth friendly and trauma-informed environment, and ensure children, youth and their families receive the support services they need. Investigations can be intimidating and support for these kids has been fragmented.
The Child Witness Centre is the lead agency in establishing the CYAC working with core partners Waterloo Regional Police, Family & Children’s Services of the Waterloo Region. The role of the Child Witness Centre is to provide oversight of the CYAC and develop and introduce the new Advocate Program
The new role – the Child and Youth Advocate – fills a critical gap in our community. The Advocate works as part of the multidisciplinary team supporting the child, youth and family from the point of disclosure, understanding their needs, and ensuring they receive the support that will help them begin to heal regardless of whether charges are laid. This can change the trajectory of their lives, contribute to their overall wellbeing and minimize the potential negative downstream implications.
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.
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 walk 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.
Working together to develop the CYAC have been key community partners – Waterloo Region Police, Family & Children’s Services of the Waterloo Region, Office of the Crown Attorney, the Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centre (SA/DVTC) through St. Mary’s Hospital, Lutherwood, Carizon Family and Community Services, and, Child Witness Centre as lead agency.