When young victims or witnesses of crime or abuse are referred to the Waterloo Region Child and Youth Advocacy Centre (CYAC), our Child and Youth Advocates work side-by-side with these young people and their families throughout the investigation process. Our Advocates are neutral professionals whose primary focus is to provide the necessary comfort, support, and information to our clients during the investigation. Regardless of the outcome of the abuse investigation, our Advocates will offer support that is relevant to the unique needs of each of our young clients and their families.
The services provided by our Advocates are tailored to their unique needs of each young person and include:
- Providing information and education to understand the investigation and the roles of the police and child protection workers.
- Supporting children, youth, and caregivers during the initial stage of the investigation (interview support).
- Supporting children, youth and caregivers following their interviews when an Advocate did not attend for interview support (post-interview support).
- Providing coping strategies, psychoeducation, and safety planning.
- Providing updates on the investigation process.
- Debriefing and collaborating with the investigators to develop a tailored support plan for clients.
- Providing help to the caregivers to develop self-care plans.
- Providing information about the many different services available in the community.
- Making referrals to services with consent.
- Offering a welcoming and safe place that fosters healing, hope and well-being.
- Remaining a support to clients through the investigation and until they feel that they no longer need the support of the Advocate.
A parent recently shared the following with the Advocate they were working with:
“Thank you so much for everything you have done, we really appreciated all your help and compassion through this whole process. …I am very grateful that your job exists, it’s really unfortunate that it is in such a need though.”
A Parent of a ClientChild and Youth Advocate Program
We too wish that our roles were not necessary; that children and youth were free from experiencing harm and/or witnessing violence. Until we reach that ultimate goal, we are proud to take the lead in a community-wide effort to prevent violence and abuse of young people and to build the resources and supports needed to ensure those most vulnerable are protected and cared for.
“Advocates play a valuable role in the CYAC. They have the opportunity to greet children, youth and their caregivers warmly during one of the biggest crisis of their lives and they remain involved once the investigation is complete to ensure that children and youth receive the help they need to begin to heal.”
Karen SpencerExecutive Director, Family and Children’s Services of Waterloo Region
If you need help or are concerned about a child, please call:
- Family and Children’s Services of the Waterloo Region at 519-576-0540
- Family and Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington County at 519-824-2410