We are proud to be the lead agency in establishing the Waterloo Region Child and Youth Advocacy Centre (CYAC), which opened in May 2016. The CYAC is a best practice collaborative child and youth friendly model for investigating allegations of child abuse and ensuring these young victims, witnesses and their families are supported through an investigation and beyond, regardless of whether charges are laid. Our role in the Waterloo Region CYAC is to provide oversight of the CYAC and deliver support services through the Child and Youth Advocate Program.
While many collaborated to make the CYAC a reality, the core partners include the Child Witness Centre, Family and Children’s Services of Waterloo Region, and the Waterloo Regional Police Service. This multidisciplinary team located at 400 Queen Street South in Kitchener (Carizon Family and Community Services) ensures a child and youth-centred approach to the investigation process that is trauma-informed and culturally responsive.
“An outstanding example of collaboration, the Child and Youth Advocacy Centre provides a safe and comforting environment where children and youth who have been impacted by the trauma of abuse are able to receive exceptional support services under one roof. Specially-trained investigators work with community partners to provide invaluable support to young people and their families. We are extremely proud of this partnership, as all agencies work together to support the healing process and promote community wellbeing.”
Chief Bryan LarkinChief of Police, Waterloo Regional Police Service
What Does an Investigation at the CYAC Look Like?
Following a report of suspected child abuse to either the Waterloo Regional Police Service or Family and Children’s Services of Waterloo Region, these organization will refer the child or youth, along with their family, to the Child and Youth Advocacy Centre for tailored support through the investigation process.
The role of the Police and Family and Children’s Services is to investigate the allegations of abuse. Advocates from CWC’s Child and Youth Advocate Program support these young people their families through the investigation, providing them with information about the process, supporting their emotional needs and assessing their needs for additional support. They also provide wraparound support once the investigation has been completed, helping to navigate and connect them with the services in our community that will best meet their needs.
We invite you to watch the following video to learn more about what the investigation and support process looks like at the CYAC and how beneficial it is to victimized young people, and the community as a whole.
Putting Young People First: The CYAC’s Growing Impact
In 2020-21, there were 522 investigations of child abuse handled through the CYAC involving 828 young people, of which the Child and Youth Advocate Program supported 489 young people, representing a total of 54% of all children and youth who were involved in a CYAC investigation.