The region’s first child and youth advocacy centre is set to open its doors later this month.
The facility, which Waypoints will run, will be a safe space for children who’ve experienced different forms of abuse such as physical, sexual, and emotional.
CYAC Manager Janine Keagan tells Mix News RCMP and Children Services will be able to talk to the youth in a stress-free environment.
“The whole purpose is to have a very comfortable, home-like environment for children so they’re not scared, they’re not intimidated when they come into our building.”
Unlike Waypoints’ Unity House, the centre won’t house any children. As referrals come in, professionals will be able to use the facility to help those struggling to share their experiences.
Keagan says it’s important people remember to report any abuse they see.
“It is a legal responsibility that you are reporting that even if you’re not 100 per cent sure. It’s always better to call and have the professionals do some work on it and make sure that everything is okay and that our children are safe.”
Waypoints doesn’t have any projections on how many children will need to use the centre.
According to the RCMP, they’ve had to interview around 80 youths so far this year with COVID-19 expected to have helped the number rise.
“It is sad we’re going to be seeing quite a few children but, to be honest, it’s such a great service to have in our community,” added Keagan.
Due to the pandemic, Waypoints is hoping to have a grand opening sometime next spring.
-With files from Steph Seidel