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Child Witness Centre Celebrates Provincial Funding Increase and Ongoing Support

We are grateful for the media coverage related to this announcement! On April 15, CBC K-W posted this online article and Craig Norris of The Morning Edition interviewed MPP Jess Dixon on the radio. On April 28, the Waterloo Region Record published this excellent article written by Jeff Outhit.

Thank you, MPP Dixon, for your incredible partnership! You are making huge strides for child and youth victims of abuse and crime, both in our community and across our province.

April 8, 2024 Kitchener, ON

Child Witness Centre (CWC) is celebrating the announcement of a significant boost in victim sector funding following Ontario Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy's recent announcement of a $6.4 million investment over three years. This enhanced support is earmarked for programs supporting survivors of sexual assault and expanding the Child Victim Witness Support Program throughout the province. This funding injection marks a positive step forward for victim services in the region, with an initial annual increase of $35,000 allocated to Child Witness Centre, bringing the total provincial funding to $200,000 per year.

The additional funding will enable Child Witness Centre to extend its crucial services to 35 more children annually, providing trauma-informed support, needs assessments, safety evaluations, educational resources, and guidance from trained staff throughout the judicial process. By focusing on reducing secondary trauma and providing essential support during challenging times, Child Witness Centre is dedicated to making a positive impact on the healing, mental health, and overall well-being of young survivors.

Expressing gratitude for the increased funding and support, Executive Director Robin Heald stated, "We are thankful to the Province of Ontario for truly listening to our urgent funding requests and recognizing the importance of child victim services by providing this initial response to our funding requests. I also want to extend appreciation to MPP Jess Dixon for her long-time support and advocacy for our organization, along with other local MPPs who together have consistently supported our funding requests."

"Child Witness Centre's vital work in supporting child victims is something I have witnessed first-hand, and it has been an honour to advocate for their cause," said Jess Dixon, former crown prosecutor and now MPP for Kitchener South - Hespeler. "I am proud to see the Province of Ontario stepping up to provide this crucial initial funding. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the government for their support, and I also want to recognize the tireless advocacy and dedication of CWC and its incredible staff. Together, we can make a positive difference in the lives of those who need it most."

Child Witness Centre Board Chair, Bernadette Behm, expressed, "Child Witness Centre is grateful for the support from the Province of Ontario and our dedicated community members. It truly takes a village to provide essential care and support to child victims in need. We extend our deepest appreciation to all our funders, donors, partners, and supporters who continue to come together during this critical time the non-profit sector is facing. Their collective efforts will have a lasting impact on our community, ensuring that children receive the support they deserve both now and in the future."

While this initial funding increase is a positive step forward, Child Witness Centre acknowledges the ongoing challenges ahead, including an ongoing waitlist currently sitting at 122 children and projected increases in demand for victim services. The organization emphasizes the necessity of continued government and community support to sustain their vital programs for the long term. With significant and steady population growth in the local catchment area, proportional increased demand for their services, and the ever-growing #MeToo movement, Child Witness Centre remains reliant on the generosity of the community, not just the government.

Every donation, no matter how small, can make a significant difference in the life of a child. For more information on how you can help with the urgent need in our community, please contact Child Witness Centre at 519-744-0904.