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 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 CYAC is to provide oversight of the centre and deliver support services through the 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 (Carizon Family and Community Services) ensures a child, youth and family-centred approach to the investigation process that is trauma-informed and culturally responsive.
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“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.”
Bryan LarkinFormer 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 2021-22, there were 632 investigations handled through the CYAC involving 1,006 young people, of which the Child and Youth Advocate Program supported 518 of them. This represents a total of 51% of all children and youth who were involved in a CYAC investigation.