For the month of August, our Community Initiative of the Month is Snowflake Place for Children and Youth Inc.!
Snowflake Place for Children and Youth is Manitoba’s only child advocacy centre, focusing on the needs of children and youth who have experienced physical and/or sexual abuse or witnessed violence. Snowflake Place coordinates and collaborates with their partners (police, child and family services and victim services) to address the needs of children and their families at the time of the child’s interview, providing a better and less traumatic response. Their model is child-focused and designed to foster best practices in child abuse investigations.
We asked Chantal Lacoste, the Community Coordinator with Snowflake Place for Children and Youth Inc. to share with us more about the heart behind Snowflake Place so we can get to know them and the work they do better. Take a read below!
Tell us about how you support children and youth through the services provided by Snowflake Place. Snowflake Place is a charitable non-profit organization providing a safe, child-friendly setting for child victims and their caregivers to meet with service providers as part of a formal investigation into allegations of child abuse. At Snowflake Place, children are interviewed by highly trained forensic interviewers. It is our vision that every victim of child abuse and every child witness to violence is heard, helped, and healed.
How has Covid-19 impacted Snowflake Place and the work you do in the community? Nearly 400 children were interviewed at Snowflake Place last year. Sadly, this represents only a small fraction of the children involved in the approximately 4,000 child abuse investigations conducted annually in our Province; and it is widely believed that many more cases go unreported each year. Snowflake Place is anticipating an influx in child abuse reports as a result of the very necessary measures in place to respond to COVID-19. Now more than ever, kids in Manitoba need our support.
Why are the services provided by Snowflake so essential for those who receive the services? Child advocacy centres provide a seamless, coordinated and collaborative approach to addressing the needs of child victims of abuse or children who have witnessed crime. Child advocacy centres seek to minimize system-induced trauma by providing a child-friendly setting for child victims or witnesses and their families.
How will the support from the Charity of the Month initiative with Jenna Rae Cakes support Snowflake Place? We are in the process of developing a fully co-located, coordinated response to child abuse in Manitoba. Children will visit one location to receive the full continuum of services onsite; they will receive consistent and continuous support from the point of intake, ensuring children and families are supported through the investigation and connected to ongoing services in their community. The coronavirus pandemic has underscored the necessity and urgency of evolving Snowflake Place into this fully functioning, co-located centre. Reports of child abuse dropped dramatically as schools, daycares, and other activities were suspended and children were no longer in contact with safe adults. Yet we know child abuse did not stop. As we prepare for an onslaught of reports as restrictions are eased and children return to school and activities, we will work to ensure the best possible coordinated and collaborative response while continuing to work towards the establishment of that centre.
For the month of August, Jenna Rae Cakes will be donating a portion of all cupcake sales to Snowflake Place. To learn more about Snowflake Place, click here.