Toronto's First Child & Youth Advocacy Centre Opens its Doors to Victims and Families of Abuse

TORONTO, Sept. 30, 2013 /CNW/ - Leading into provincial Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Child & Youth Advocacy Centre at Boost (CYAC at Boost), Toronto's first such centre for abuse victims, has officially opened its doors after much hard work and collaboration between eight community partner agencies.

"The goal of the CYAC at Boost is to ensure that children, youth and families who have experienced abuse receive the very best child-focused investigation, treatment, support services, and advocacy under one roof," says Karyn Kennedy, the Executive Director for Boost Child Abuse Prevention & Intervention (Boost). The CYAC at Boost is a true partnership between the community, private and public sectors. All eight partner agencies (listed below) have committed staff and resources to planning and implementation; Justice Canada is providing multi-year funding to the CYAC through its Policy Centre for Victims of Crime; the provincial Ministry of Children & Youth Services has provided capital funding; the Toronto Police Service has provided funding with grants from the Government of Ontario, and the concept has received significant donations from two Toronto family foundations.

Through partnerships and government funding, Boost was able to expand in order to house investigation, protection and advocacy services to be complemented by well-established programs that support victims of abuse. All of these services under one roof form the CYAC at Boost.

"The four child welfare agencies in Toronto collectively investigate over 11,000 reports of child abuse and neglect annually," says David Rivard, Chief Executive Officer of the Children's Aid Society of Toronto. "Having an innovative child and family focused facility like the Child & Youth Advocacy Centre that supports our entire community is a model of practice that is long overdue," Rivard added.

The objective of the CYAC at Boost is to replace the city's fragmented system of investigation, treatment and prosecution of child abuse cases with a collaborative, real-time system in one location. The driving vision for the Child & Youth Advocacy Centre at Boost is a belief that all children have the right to a safe, nurturing environment, one in which they are able to grow and reach their full potential, free from violence, abuse and neglect.

The CYAC at Boost will offer seamless, coordinated service to all children and youth who report physical or sexual abuse in a comfortable, friendly setting. It will provide a new service, an 'Advocate', to help guide the child or youth and their family through the process; bring together dedicated and skilled police and child protection investigators in one location to conduct child abuse investigations. It will link investigative services with crisis support, specialized assessment and treatment, and court preparation. This eliminates the need for the child or youth to go to numerous locations. It also raises awareness of child abuse in the City of Toronto in an effort to reduce victimization of children and youth.

"The CYAC will be a centre of excellence, providing a leading-edge response that will set the benchmark for child abuse investigations and interventions." says Police Chief William Blair. The centre will be the largest in Canada in terms of investigations and services offered.

By drawing upon interdisciplinary expertise and on-going collaboration with the Child Welfare Institute, the centre will also conduct innovative research that will allow for the evaluation and implementation of best practice standards and evidence-based/evidence-informed multidisciplinary practices programs and services. The CYAC at Boost currently provides services to families in central Toronto and part of North York. Eventually it will provide these same services across the entire city. It will be a model for the province, providing multidisciplinary training and consultation to similar centres in Ontario and across the country.

Eight community partners have worked together to make the CYAC possible (logos available):

Boost Child Abuse Prevention & Intervention

Children's Aid Society of Toronto

Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto

Jewish Family & Child

Native Child & Family Services of Toronto

Toronto Police Service

Safe-T Program

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)

ABOUT BOOST:
Boost is an agency with an outstanding 32-year history of child abuse prevention and intervention. Boost is a community-based agency committed to eliminating abuse and violence of children, youth and their families. The centre is a registered charity and provides programs and services to children, youth and their families. www.boostforkids.org. https://www.facebook.com/BoostforKids @boostforkids

ABOUT THE CYAC AT BOOST:
The Child & Youth Advocacy Centre at Boost is a creative community response to child abuse investigations. It's a partnership among local community and government agencies that brings together all professionals involved in child abuse cases to one location. The CYAC at Boost is child-friendly, accessible and safe for children who are victims and their families.

SOURCE CYAC at Boost

For further information:

For any media inquiries/requests, contact Aimée Savard at asavard@aimpr.ca or 416-788-6719.