Where can Ontario's children and youth in distress turn for help?   They can turn to the Child Advocacy Centre Niagara for help.   Cindy Paskey, Executive Director for the CACN shared information about the centre at our breakfast meeting, Wednesday.
The CACN, located in St. Catharines, is the first recognized community funded Child Advocacy Centre in Canada.   Here, children and youth who have been physically or sexually abused,  become targets of the internet, or become unwilling witness of violence, can seek help in a safe, pleasant atmosphere among people they can trust - along with their family.
After the infamous 'Bernado' affair, local individuals came together and raised funds to establish  the centre.   Counseling is free, and there is no waiting time here.
Only 15 % of their funding come from Regional partners like the Police, Families and Children's Services Niagara, Family Counseling Centre Niagara, and medical professionals.   The remaining 85% comes from Fundraising Events.
The goal of CACN is to make the tragic incident as easy as possible for the child or youth, and they attempt to do that by putting the child through only ONE videotaped interview with trained staff.  Cindy mentioned that teens are least likely to tell about sexual abuse.   Such abuse can cause severe depression, often lifelong, without councelling.  Talk about it - and it helps.
Cindy Paskey has presented to national sessions hosted by Justice Canada and is consulted by other CAC organaizations from across Canada.  Manitoba apparently is in the process of setting up a similar centre, and is seeking advice from Cindy and her team.
I am very pleased that there is a place for our kids to seek help, because some of this is too heavy stuff for a child, or youth, to bear.   Thanks to all, staff and volunteers, who work to make this a better world for the next generation.