How many times are children interviewed?

The goal is one time only. That way, the child does not have to repeat & relive their experience numerous times.

What ages do you serve?

Children/youth up to and including the age of 16, occasionally older youth and adult witnesses are interviewed at the Centre.

How many children are from my community?

We are a regional service. Our statistics show that as of at December 31st, 2014 since opening over 2100 interviews from across the region have taken place at the Kristen French CACN. The centre accommodates about 2/3rds of the Niagara region’s 400 child abuse allegation investigations per year; approximately one per business day.

Is it difficult to interview children?

Children’s developmental needs are different than adults. Consequently team members are specially trained to conduct forensic interviews of children. The team decides ahead of time who will interview. One person conducts the interviews, while another observes in the video recording room. Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) are mandated to review evidence; Family and Children’s Services (FACS) are mandated to decide if the child is in need of protection or what other interventions are needed in the family. In joint investigations, police and child welfare will determine who is best suited to undertake the interview depending upon how the disclosure is first made. During the process, the person interviewing receives feedback from the other observing team member. There might be other questions to ask. It’s extremely important that the team works together and takes the best approach for the child.

Are other people interviewed?

Other people with knowledge, such as a non-offending parent or care giver, will be interviewed. The team decides on this. No alleged perpetrator interviews happen at the Centre.

Aren’t you duplicating services?

No. Kristen French CACN is an amalgamation of services and is a one-of-a kind model for child abuse investigation. It is a more efficient and cost effective way to investigate allegations of child abuse. The use of a multi-disciplinary team reduces duplication and increases efficiency and repetitive investigations into each incident of reported child abuse.

How are cases referred to the Centre?

The investigations that are referred to the Centre are governed by legal requirements that child protection and police are mandated to fulfill. When abuse is suspected, there is no change in the reporting process. Reports are made to FACS or NRPS. They each have an intake process. Through that process, it is decided whether an investigation is necessary. If an investigation is necessary, the interviews can happen at the Kristen French CACN.

How are cases reported?

People who suspect abuse have a legal duty to inform FACS. When a report is made, NRPS and FACS each have a screening process. All cases of sexual abuse and severe physical abuse are referred to their child abuse specialized units that work out of our Centre. They make an appointment with the family to visit the Centre. Reports of neglect are handled by other child protection workers. FACS is also known in other areas as the Children’s Aid Society.

When do police become involved?

Police investigate all sexual assault and internet exploitation cases. For physical abuse, they are involved when it is likely criminal charges will be laid. Police also do child interviews for other units; cases where children witness violence (robberies, stabbings, domestic).

What about internet luring?

Interviews related to those cases are held at the Centre.

Do your partners (FACS & NRPS) support the Centre financially?

Yes. Their support covers 25% of the Centre’s operating budget. Partners are responsible for their own employee salaries.

Is there government funding?

At the moment, there is no core regional, provincial or federal funding. Strong efforts to secure this funding are being made. There is grant funding received from Justice Canada for the Family Advocacy Program.

Can I have a copy of the Centre’s Financial Statements?

Please see the 2014 annual report and Case for Support. The 2014 audited financial statements are available, upon request. Call the Centre’s Executive Director, Janet Handy at 905-937-5435 x7001.

What happens after the interview?

Family Counselling Services are called upon to provide counselling at no cost and without a waitlist and the Family Advocate provides post investigation support.

When does the Family Advocate get involved?

The Family Advocate (FA) is NOT involved in the investigation or interview process. You can receive support from the FA after the investigation in a number of ways. Your investigator can refer you to her for ongoing support. You can call the Advocate yourself after your interview is over and seek further referral or counselling supports. As a parent you can request to join the Pathways to Healing workshop held at different times in the year. As a teen between the ages of 12 and 14 you can ask to join our teen creative support group starting in July 2016.