June 1, 2021
We are excited to report on the progress we’ve made over the last few months.
The Planning Committee continues to meet regularly and has almost finalized the ideal workflow for York Region’s Child & Youth Advocacy Centre (CYAC). Partners are working on estimates for resource and space requirements to help us better understand the size of building we will need to house the new Centre.
As previously highlighted in our timeline, our plan is to launch a pilot program in the Fall of 2022. A key element to establishing a pilot will be to confirm how coordination between core service providers can be improved to create a more cohesive experience for children, youth, and their families. Increasing access to mental health services earlier in their experience will be one of the elements we consider, among several others.
Our focus over the next several months will be on confirming which of these elements will be part of the pilot, setting objectives for the pilot, and determining how we will track progress against those objectives.
Raising awareness and support
Securing government support is critical to the long-term success of the CYAC. Earlier this spring we began inviting officials to sign a pledge to the children, youth, and families of York Region as a way to start conversations about this regional project with various levels of government. We are excited to share that we have already received support from several individuals.
I believe in the importance of protecting and helping all children and youth of York Region; in supporting families, parents, and caregivers to be their best; and in organizations and individuals working together toward a common goal of keeping our children and youth safe.
This initiative will continue through the summer and fall and we’ll be posting a list of pledge supporters on our website later this year.
Children First Canada is a national charitable organization that harnesses the strength of many organizations and individuals to advocate for and with children and youth in Canada. Last month, they launched a campaign called #codePink. This is a term used by doctors when there is a paediatric emergency. Given recent statistics, Children First Canada, together with Canada’s top children’s hospitals and advocacy organizations, are calling for an emergency response (#codePink) by Canada’s first ministers for the crisis facing the children and youth across our country. Here are some statistics from a recent report released by Children First Canada:
- Suicide attempt admissions have increased by 100% on average during the pandemic
- Admissions for substance-use disorders have increased by 200%
- 70% of kids aged 6 to 18 report that the pandemic has harmed their mental health in at least one area, such as anxiety or attention span
- Child abuse rates have risen sharply, with a 100% increase in cases of infants presenting with fractures and head trauma since September 2020
Learn more about this initiative and how you can show your support by visiting Children First Canada.
Child and Youth Advocacy Centres across Canada
Since starting this journey to develop York Region’s first Child & Youth Advocacy Centre, we continue to be amazed and thankful for the support and openness we’ve received from so many CYACs across Canada. Whether we were asking them to share their experiences, their opinions or details on their processes and protocols, they have all been willing to take time from their busy schedules to talk with us.
In appreciation of all the support we have received, we want to share some of the exciting things happening at CYACs across Canada.
Marie-Vincent Foundation (CYAC), Montréal, Québec
The number of young people who disclose sexual violence is increasing, creating additional need for therapeutic services for these young people. In response to the increased demand for services, Marie-Vincent Foundation is opening a second site in Montréal. The new site will be located in the Montérégie region.
Child & Youth Advocacy Centre Simcoe/Muskoka, Ontario
The Simcoe/Muskoka Child & Youth Advocacy Centre covers a significant area, spanning approximately 8,700km2. While this CYAC currently has two locations, one in Barrie and one in Muskoka, travel time for clients as well as MDT partners was identified as a barrier to seeking and providing service. In order to remove this barrier, the team at Simcoe/Muskoka CYAC is piloting a mobile response unit. This unit will not only include high-quality portable interviewing equipment but also an Advocate and a fully-accredited facility canine.
Sanare Centre, Medicine Hat, Alberta
This spring, the Sexual Assault Response Committee has opened their Child & Youth Advocacy Centre and renamed it Sanare, a latin word for healing.
Chinook Sexual Assault Centre, Lethbridge, Alberta
The Chinook Sexual Assault Centre recently launched a campaign called ‘Give Hope. Give Support.’ to help bring a Child Advocacy Centre to Lethbridge, Alberta. Currently there are seven CYACs across Alberta with the closest ones in Medicine Hat and Calgary. They hope to open the new centre by the end of this year.