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Child and Youth Advocacy Centre of Waterloo Region

We are proud to be the lead agency in establishing the Child and Youth Advocacy Centre (CYAC) of Waterloo Region, which opened in May 2016.  The CYAC collaborative is a best practice child and youth friendly model for investigating allegations of abuse and crime. Young victims, witnesses, and their families are supported through the investigation and beyond. Our role is to provide oversight of the CYAC and services through our Child and Youth Advocate Program.

A few of our key partners in this collaborative are Family and Children’s Services of Waterloo Region, Waterloo Regional Police Service and Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region. The multidisciplinary team located at 400 Queen Street South in Kitchener (Camino Wellbeing + Mental Health) ensures a child, youth and family-centred approach to the investigation process that is trauma-informed and culturally responsive.

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New logo launched! It embodies a caring and supportive place for young people and caregivers. Learn more.

Working collaboratively with community partners allows a level of comfort and wellness to be provided to young victims, witnesses, and their families as they navigate – many times for the first time – the criminal justice system and the trauma involved with experiencing abuse or crime. Having a multidisciplinary team allows a collaborative and dedicated focus to be placed on providing the best care and support for those impacted, while removing or limiting any potential barriers or fears that may exist. Several times, our investigators have heard that children feel so much better about the process and their situation because of the collaborative youth-centred approach to investigating crimes.

We are extremely grateful and thankful to Child Witness Centre and agency partners for the work they do to ensure best practices when it comes to providing child and youth friendly models for investigating allegations of abuse and crime.

Chief Crowell headshotMark Crowell
Chief 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 (WRPS) or Family and Children’s Services (FACS) of Waterloo Region, these organizations will refer the child or youth, and their family, to the CYAC for tailored support through the investigation process.

The role of WRPS and FACS is to investigate the allegations of abuse. Advocates from our Child and Youth Advocate Program support these young people and 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 2022-23, there were 656 investigations handled at the CYAC, which involved 1,012 young people. Our support workers in the Child and Youth Advocate Program helped 512 (almost 51%) of them.

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