Open Doors for Lanark Children and Youth, in partnership with Family & Children’s Services of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville (FCSLLG), The Lanark Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Lanark County Situation Table, Victim Services Lanark County (VSLC), Lanark County Interval House (LCIH) and Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital announce a plan to open a Child Advocacy Centre (CAC) in Lanark County. The centre will address the needs of local children, youth and families in cases of abuse.
This project began in December of 2017 with the submission of a proposal to the Department of Justice Canada for funding to develop and pilot a Child Advocacy Centre in Lanark County.
The application was based on a needs and feasibility study conducted by the partnership to support the growing number of area victimizations being reported to county agencies.
When the centre opens, it will provide single-site multidisciplinary services including coordinating referrals to services such as mental health, safety planning, housing, domestic violence intervention and transportation.
The Child Advocacy Centre is a multi-year project. The location of the physical site has yet to be determined. It will operate virtually until such time as a host community has been established.
This initiative also dovetails well with two child and youth mental health priorities that were highlighted through recent community consultation for Moving on Mental Health, the Ontario child and youth mental health transformation process.
Specifically, this project will address the expressed desire for improved accessibility to service when the need is present plus the benefit of enhanced coordination of service between community partners delivering service with children, youth and families.
Terri Brady, Past Chairperson for Open Doors, said, “We look forward to working together with our partners to ensure positive outcomes for our children and families in crisis. Through enhanced communication and integration of services it should be possible to provide more timely and effective interventions and support for those who need it. We are grateful to be able to implement this model in Lanark County.”
While research in Canada is still in the early stages, the federal Department of Justice highlights some of the positive impacts of this service delivery model. Some of these community benefits include cost-effective and expedited criminal investigations, increased child, youth and family focused care, and improved communication and coordination between community resources.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould stated, “Our Government is unwavering in its commitment to ensure that all victims of crime are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. Child and youth victims of crime and their families need information, services and supports to begin their healing journey. Investing in Child Advocacy Centres, such as this one in Lanark County, will address gaps in services to these vulnerable groups and will help fulfill our Government’s commitment to create a criminal justice system that protects the vulnerable and builds a safer and better Canada.”
The Lanark County Child Advocacy Centre will provide an integrated, seamless and collaborative approach to addressing the needs of children and youth who are victims of sexual violence, assault, and physical abuse county-wide.