Boost is collaborating with a number of community service partners in the City of Toronto in the development of Toronto's first Child & Youth Advocacy Centre (CYAC). The service partners include: Children's Aid Society of Toronto, Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto, Native Child & Family Services, Jewish Family & Child, Toronto Police Service, Boost Child Abuse Prevention & Intervention, SAFE-T Program (Halton Trauma Centre), Child Development Institute, and the Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect Program (The Hospital for Sick Children).
A Child & Youth Advocacy Centre is a creative community response to child abuse investigations. It’s a partnership among local community and government agencies and brings together all professionals involved in child abuse cases to one location. A CYAC is child-friendly, accessible and safe for children who are victims and their families.
Why does Toronto need one?
The Toronto CYAC will replace the current fragmented system of investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases with a coordinated, seamless, interdisciplinary response to child abuse victims in Toronto at one location in a child friendly environment. Some of the current problems that will be resolved through a CYAC include: Investigations that are not conducted in a child-friendly locations, child and youth who are interviewed multiple times, lack of coordination between professionals, non-offending caregivers are not support consistently, case management is inconsistent and fragmented.
Who is it for and what will it do?
The CYAC setting is a safe place for child and youth victims of abuse to talk about what happened to them. The space is modelled to be child-friendly (i.e. reception. play areas and counselling rooms with age appropriate toys and books and so on). It allows for all facets of child abuse investigations to be performed in one location, including a child interview room, a child examination room where both physical and sexual abuse examinations can be performed. Interview rooms are equipped with state of the art recording equipment to document and preserve the child's statement so that it can be used in the criminal justice process to reduce the trauma of the child repeatedly telling his/her experience of abuse.
How will a CYAC help?