Support & Services.

At Big Bear CYAC, our vision is to live in a community where every child & youth is respected and heard, and child maltreatment is not tolerated.

Support & Services.

At Big Bear CYAC, our vision is to live in a community where every child & youth is respected and heard, and child maltreatment is not tolerated.

Supporting Our Community

In response to the additional trauma that children/youth experience through abuse disclosures, CYACs are promoted as best-practice (McDonald, Scrim & Rooney, 2016). A CYAC has the opportunity to support the child to create better outcomes for the victims, the investigation process and society alike.

CYACs were developed in the United States over 30 years ago ​to minimize system-induced trauma that often occur during ‘traditional’ investigation methods (Department of Justice Canada, 2013).​ There are now over 1,000 centres successfully operating in the U.S. Support for the maltreated child/youth is prioritized in CYACs and it encompasses the use of a multidisciplinary team and thorough case management (McDonald, Scrim & Rooney, 2016). The Canadian Government is promoting communities to adopt this ‘best-practice’ model and specifically design it to meet individual community needs (Department of Justice Canada, 2016).

There are approximately 38 Advocacy Centres that are open or in development in Canada.

Developing in Phases to be able to do what we do...

The idea to develop a Child & Youth Advocacy Centre was championed at the end of 2015. Developing  a CYAC was a massive project and took a lot of time, patience and the right people coming together. It also takes work to find the funding; therefore, Big Bear CYAC  developed in Phases to make it feasible and allow services to be available as soon as possible!

Phase 1 of development consisted of becoming a Charitable Society with a Board of Directors, defining the CYAC model of practise with policies and procedures, creating the MOU, the hiring of staff/contracted partners and a the creation of a Partnership Agreement between Big Bear CYAC and the Regional Suspected Child Abuse & Neglect Clinic (SCAN Clinic-located at the Royal Inland Hospital). The Phase 1 partnership between Big Bear and the SCAN Clinic incorporated the CYAC model of practise, advocacy and support for children and families, and advocated for the child forensic RCMP interviews to occur at the SCAN Clinic until completion of Big Bear CYAC Phase 2. The launch of operations for Phase 1 was on March 3, 2020.

Big Bear Phase 2 of development involved securing a location and completing renovations in April, 2021 – Big Bear CYAC opened its doors May 1st/2021! Big Bear CYAC has a beautiful and welcoming space with a Family Room, a Child & Youth Room, and cozy meeting rooms that are filled with soft furniture, ‘Big Bear decor’ and snacks/refreshments so children, youth and their families can have conversations with Police, Child Protection, Health workers and/or Crown in a more comfortable space. Children and youth will no longer have to go to the Police Station or the hospital location to share their painful story with professionals because the professionals can now come to Big Bear. RCMP wear ‘plain clothes’ at Big Bear so conversations with them feel way less intimidating. At Big Bear – we help children and youth go at the pace they need in sharing their story – the priority is you! We also want to advocate for the supports and services you want or need within the community to promote long-term healing and well-being.

Big Bear CYAC is in Phase 3 of development – offering all the services of Phase 2 but now welcomed the completion of the Centres remote testifying room! Sometimes youth, who have witnessed or experienced maltreatment, need to testify or read their impact statement in court. Going to court can be a very intimidating place to be, as well a place where running into the alleged offender is likely. Now youth can apply to be able to come to Big Bear CYAC instead, where privacy and comfort  is ensured!

Big Bear CYAC  recognizes and honours the need for Truth & Reconciliation within all the services we provide. Big Bear CYAC opened its Elders space, offering a comfortable and welcoming space for children, youth and families who would like to engage in prayer, ceremony or just to have a private place to gather. Thank you to the partnerships with Secwepemc Health Caucus and Lii Michif Otipemisiwak, the space offers Drums, Rattles and healing rocks.

Phase 3 still involves the working of  moving the SCAN Clinic under the Big Bear roof so children & youth will no longer have to go to the hospital for a forensic medical evaluation or wellness check! Having professionals working together (RCMP, Child Protection and Health) under the one roof will complete the ability to fully coordinate investigations. This will mitigate gaps in services and reduce systemic trauma that research demonstrates children often experience when involved with the justice system in cases of child abuse.

Big Bear CYAC is near completion of opening up its second forensic interview room. Being able to have two interview rooms allows for each to be designated and designed specifically for younger children or for youth. Because Big Bear CYAC’s young clients are anywhere from the age 2 to 18, it is important to have age appropriate furniture. Oversized furniture can make a young child (who may already be feeling nervous and less empowered) to feel even more vulnerable when they are meeting with professionals. Having the right sized furniture makes a huge difference!

Big Bear CYAC…changing the journey for children, youth and their families who have to be involved in the criminal justice system due to experiencing abuse or witnessing other forms of traumatic events! It is so unfortunate that children and youth have to experience such traumas, but when everyone is working together, we can help ensure they are getting what they need in order to heal.

Together…A better outcome for everyone

For more information, and to follow us as we continue to develop, follow us on Big Bear CYAC Facebook and/or Instagram. 

  • Big Bear CYAC (Society) – Coordinating and facilitating a collaborated response to cases of child maltreatment. Providing child & family support & advocacy throughout the investigation process, specifically before, during and after investigational interviews/medicals. On-going support even after investigations are complete. Helping to bridge referrals within our community to ensure long-term healing.BIG BEAR CYAC Supports & Services: 
    • Collaborate the response to child abuse investigations (with Law Enforcement, Child Protection & Interior Health (Suspected Child Abuse & Neglect Clinic (SCAN clinic) & making the family a part of this team! – TOGETHER…A BETTER OUTCOME FOR EVERYONE!
    • Multi-disciplinary team planning (involving Law Enforcement, Child Protection, Interior Health, child forensic interviewing specialist, mental health expert and trauma expert)
    • Helping to create a prepared and tailored child forensic interview experience in a welcoming, child-friendly and culturally-safe space!
    • Family Advocate Services – Provides continual support, advocacy and shares information with the child/youth/family from the onset of the investigation. For example, the advocate supports the child/youth/family during the child forensic interview and medical evaluations that are conducted under the Big Bear roof. The advocate provides continual follow up services to help decrease barriers and enhance connection to appropriate services based on each client’s unique set of needs to promote long-term healing and wellness!
    • Mental Health and Wellness support – Out Mental Health & Wellness Assessment Team helps to learn what children/youth/families need in order to promote long-term healing.
    • REFERRALS to Big Bear CYAC are through Law Enforcement, Child Protection (MCFD, DAA), Interior Health medical practitioners & the Suspected Child Abuse & Neglect Clinic)
  • Kamloops RCMP – Child abuse criminal investigation
  • Police-Based Victim Support – victim support at RCMP
  • Ministry for Children & Family Development – child protection services
  • Secwépemc Child & Family Services – Delegated Aboriginal child protection
  • DAA Lii Michif Otipemisiwak Family and Community Services (LMOFCS) – Delegated Aboriginal child protection
  • Interior Health – Providing medical health
  • Thompson Rivers University (Canada Research Chair in Culture and Communities): Children and the Law – Provided evaluation of Phase 1 and now in Phase 2!

Child Abuse is Wrong: What can I do?

This booklet (Department of Justice Canada) is for the parents or guardians of children. It talks about child abuse in families. It answers questions about the law on child abuse in Canada. It may also be useful even if you are not a parent, but you believe a child you know is being abused.

You can download the booklet by clicking here.

Canadian CYAC Movement

In a few short years there has been a significant increase in the number of Child & Youth Advocacy Centres across Canada, with almost 40 centres open, or in various stages of development. Beginning in 2010, the Policy Centre for Victims Issues, Department of Justice Canada has provided support and funding to create new CYACs and created a National CYAC/CAC Network that involves all child/youth advocacy centre’s across Canada. The development of CYACs is transforming the system.

Proudly supported and funded by

Recipients of the 2022/23 fiscal Civil Forfeiture Grant (Child & Youth Advocacy Centre stream) Government of BC – Community Safety and Crime Prevention Branch, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General

Recipients of 5 year (April 1/18 – March 31/23) CYAC Development grant from Department of Justice Canada

2022 Stollery Charitable Foundation Grant (To build remote testimony room and Elder space)

2022 TNRD grant (To add some extra security to building)

And the kind donations 🙂

Thank you to #Warnercares (Warner Rentals) donation program in helping Big Bear in receiving donations – very needed, very appreciated!


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Proudly supported and funded by

  • Government of BC – Community Safety and Crime Prevention Branch
  • Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General
  • Department of Justice Canada
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