When young victims or witnesses of crime or abuse are referred to the Child and Youth Advocacy Centre (CYAC) of Waterloo Region, our 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 comfort, support, and information. Our services are relevant to the unique needs of each client, and may include:
- Offering a welcoming and safe place that fosters healing, hope and wellbeing.
- Explaining the investigation process and the roles of the police and child protection workers.
- Providing interview support at the initial stage of the criminal investigation.
- Providing coping strategies, psychoeducation, and safety planning.
- Providing helpful updates as the investigation process progresses.
- Developing a tailored support plan, after debriefing and collaborating with the investigators.
- Providing help to the caregivers to develop their own self-care plans.
- Providing information about the many different services available in the community.
- Making referrals to services with consent.
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 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 Waterloo Region at 519-576-0540
- Family and Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington County at 519-824-2410