A Maple Ridge centre that helps children and youth who are victims of abuse has secured funding to operate until 2016.
Alisa’s Wish Child and Youth Advocacy Centre officially opened its doors last week, although it has been operating for the past year.
The centre is named for Alisa – who at five years old was sexually abuse by her father.
When Alisa revealed her secret to her mother, there was no centralized place in Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows where victims of such abuse could get help.
Alisa’s Wish coordinator Camia Weaver said Alisa’s journey was an exhausting series of running to and from interviews, appointments, meetings, court attendances and therapy sessions – all of which took an additional toll on Alisa and her family.
“The prosecution and recovery process for a young victim of violence should not cause additional trauma to a child and family already suffering the unimaginable,” she added.
The philosophy behind the development of Alisa’s Wish is to reduce that trauma, and provide immediate, comprehensive, and ongoing support for a child and family, as long as they need it.
The centre is the result of more than two years of collaboration between Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Community Services, RCMP, Ministry of Children and Family Development, Act 2 Child and Family Services, local school district, Cythera House Transition Society, victim services and courts.
Based in downtown Maple Ridge, Alisa’s Wish provides a safe, family friendly environment where police can conduct interviews.
The centre’s child and youth advocate helps families access the services and support they need to recover from trauma, working with clients as young as four.
The hope for the future includes moving to a larger space, raising staff levels, developing a volunteer corps to meet transportation and some other needs to clients, potentially co-locating some services, developing collaborative trauma-informed medical examination and treatment within the community, and expanding public education and information services to the communities.