The Child Advocacy Centre of Kelowna (CAC) had a quiet opening in January, but it’s been working hard at advocating for children since then.
The centre was in development for two years, which included building the physical space, and looking for community partners that the centre could work with.
The centre’s executive director Ginny Becker said it took a while to put together the team because the point of the CAC is to provide a set of wraparound services out of the centre.
“In this centre, we house four dedicated RCMP officers who are dedicated to investigations of child abuse specifically. We have a dedicated social worker through the Ministry of Children and Family Development, we have two victim service workers who work alongside us from the Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society and we are also in partnership with Interior Health,” she said.
“Our job as the CAC is to facilitate that integrated response.”
But development doesn’t stop just because they’ve opened their doors.
Becker said they’re taking a slower approach when it comes to their growth trajectory, as everything is still in a discovery phase.
“You take all these agencies and put them in one centre and you figure out how you’re all going to work… it’s taking a system that is entrenched in tradition and silos and building something new that works to the best outcome of care for children and families,” she said.
Becker said gathering feedback for a difficult issue is a little complicated but she said the community has been supportive of the CAC, and it has been beneficial to the cases they’ve encountered so far.
“It’s sad that we even need a centre like this in our community but the reality is, we do need it. We may as well make a positive impact now that we have it.”
The CAC is a non-profit organization, which means it will always need financial backers and sponsors to help keep it operational. Becker said they are always looking for donors to help them.
As for providing education on what they do and what to watch out for to protect children for the time being, Becker said the best way to learn more is for community members to check their website, Facebook or Instagram.