Multi-Disciplinary Support Program
The Child Advocacy Centre (CAC) of Kelowna works to build long term sustainable change in the response to child abuse by offering centralized services delivered in a welcoming, child-friendly environment. This team response to child abuse improves access to resources and supports for victims, families and community agencies, reduces future trauma, helps prevent future instances of abuse by building awareness, and helps victims overcome the trauma they have experienced.
Our team includes core service providers involved in child abuse reporting and response: police, child protection workers, healthcare professionals, victim service providers, Child and Family Advocates and additional community services. The coordination of these services is at the heart of all that we do at the CAC. How we collaborate and communicate help to remove barriers to services and prevents vulnerable children from falling through the gaps.
The very existence of a CAC within our community provides the opportunity to work towards the prevention of child abuse and neglect. Our framework for practice allows for improved outcomes and an empowered community.
Child and Family Advocacy Program
The Child and Family Advocacy Program is a service offered to all families involved with the CAC during a child abuse investigation. Our Child and Family Advocates provides immediate and ongoing support and referral services to children and their non-offending family members. Advocates will also ensure the needs of children and families are prioritized and responded to in a timely fashion.
The role of the Child and Family Advocate is a new service; one that exists to close the gaps between agencies and ensure that everything occurring with a file is in the best interest of the need of the child. Every child is paired with a dedicated Advocate who remains by their side through the entire process, from the first visit through the criminal justice process through to the next phase of their journey towards healing. This constant presence is critical to building trust and ensuring that a child feels safe and supported.
You can expect the Advocate to:
- Greet the family and provide them with a tour of the CAC
- Introduce the family to the CAC Team and the general ideals of the CAC
- Remain with family members throughout interviews to provide support, answer any questions and address concerns
- Provide information on next steps and services available to the family through the CAC and the community
- Contact the family on a regular basis to offer support and referrals
- Collaborate with Victim Support to ensure all areas of need for both the child and their family are addressed.
Child Victim Support Program
The Child Victim Support Program (CVSP) is for any child who may need to testify in a criminal court proceeding. Court preparation and support is offered across the Central Okanagan Region, including Lake Country, Kelowna, West Kelowna and Peachland.
It can be stressful for a young person to testify in court. The CVSP helps reduce that stress (as well as the stress felt by a parent/caregiver) by explaining what to expect, and by providing help to navigate the criminal justice system.
Family Support Program
At the CAC, we recognize that abuse affects the entire family. We want to ensure family members feel they have a place to share their story and find support. With the aid of a Child and Family Advocate, the Family Support Program will provide information and resources to children and families that are referred to the Centre.
The program works to be a consistent positive presence to the children and families who access the CAC by providing regular follow-up throughout their entire interaction with the CAC (first entry, investigation, medical, court and after). This program ensures families have a clear understanding of the different pieces of the investigative process at the CAC and that they know who to go to for specific questions and/or concerns. The program works to minimize the long-term impact of abuse and support victims throughout their healing.