Lanark Child & Youth Advocacy Centre
Child and Youth Advocacy Centres (CYAC’S) exist or are being set up in a growing number of communities in Canada, and around the world. Today CYAC’s are regarded as leading practice in how to respond to child abuse cases They provide a multi-disciplinary, seamless and collaborative approach to addressing the needs of children and youth who are victims of, or witnesses to, sexual and physical abuse, as well as other serious crimes. By creating an enhanced and coordinated service model, long term dependence on such services as mental health and other community and services may be reduced.
In the Spring of 2018, Open Doors for Lanark Children and Youth was awarded a 5 year grant from the Justice Canada Victims’ Fund to develop and pilot a CYAC in Lanark County. Although the Lanark Child and Youth Advocacy Centre is governed and managed by Open Doors for Lanark Children and Youth, it is a collaborative service that brings multiple community partners together.
These are some of the community service partners:
Lanark County OPP, Smiths Falls Police Service, Family Children Services of Lanark, Leeds, Grenville. Victim Services Lanark County, Victim/Witness Assistance Program of Lanark County, Lanark County Sexual Assault / Domestic Violence Hospital Based Programs-Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital, Lanark County Crown Attorney, Open Doors for Lanark Children and Youth.
Professionals at the Lanark Child and Youth Advocacy Centre work as a multi-disciplinary team with child/youth victims and witnesses, and their families to coordinate responses, and assist clients with connecting them with the support and services they may need.
The Lanark Child and Youth Advocacy Centre’s Vision
Children and youth have a right to grow up free of violence in a safe, healthy and nurturing community. The Lanark Child and Youth Advocacy Centre delivers a service that promotes strength, healing, and resiliency in children, youth, and their families who have been affected by serious crime, violence, or abuse, and is sensitive to their unique needs by providing comprehensive seamless service and support.
The Lanark County Child and Youth Advocacy Centre:
-Brings multi-sectoral partners together in one place to give children, youth and their families a safe, comforting and family-friendly space in which to start their healing journey.
-Provides advocacy, intervention and access to support services.
-Believes in providing a client-centred, trauma-informed system of support in which victims only have to tell their story once.
-Is dedicated to efforts to prevent child abuse and violence through education, awareness and change.
What can I expect at the Lanark Child and Youth Advocacy Centre (LCYAC)?
-A child and youth friendly safe space with people to support you and answer any questions you may have.
-A coordinated response
-A continuum of service that includes police investigation, child protection, victim support and advocacy, and referral to medical and mental health, as well as follow-up care.
-Collaboration between agencies that form a multi-disciplinary team for the benefit of children and youth and their families. The team is made up of you, your family, and the professionals working with you and for you. You can decide who is on your team. You give consent for those people to work together.
-Forensic interviews that are recorded, which will help reduce the number of times child/youth victims and witnesses have to tell their stories. In turn, hopefully causing less trauma., and re-victimization.
-The multi-disciplinary team reviews your case with you, and tries to make sure you are getting connected to the services you need.
There are also snacks and drinks.
When you arrive at the Lanark Child and Youth Advocacy Centre, you will usually be greeted by a staff from Victim Services Lanark County, or the LCYAC Team Leader. The Victim Services worker takes on the role of Advocate.
The role of the Advocate:
-Be a support to you.
-Be a consistent point of contact
-Help you and your caregivers to understand and navigate different systems and services
-Connect families with help and resources
The services of the Lanark Child and Youth Advocacy Centre are voluntary and at no cost to you or your caregivers.
A Community Response
Working together with Open Doors for Lanark Children and Youth to develop the Lanark Child and Youth Advocacy Centre have been key community partners. They are: Lanark County OPP, Smiths Falls Police Service, Family and Children Services of Lanark, Leeds, and Grenville, Lanark County Crown Attorney, Victim Services Lanark County, Victim/Witness Assistance Program of Lanark County, Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital, Lanark County Interval House, Lanark County Situation Table Coordinator, Upper Canada District School Board, Catholic School Board of Eastern Ontario.
Open Doors for Lanark Children and Youth along with its community partners wish to thank Justice Canada for providing the grant, through the Victim’s Fund, for the development and piloting of the Lanark Child and Youth Advocacy Centre.