Alisa’s Wish erases some of the boundaries

Agreement will allow for better information sharing between Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows agencies.

A commemorative stone unveiled in McLean Park in Pitt Meadows in 2014 by the Alisa's Wish Child and Youth Advocacy Centre in honour of the healing journey of young victims of abuse.

The people who help out injured and abused children at the place called Alisa’s Wish will find their heavy tasks a little lighter now that all the bureaucratic barriers are out of the way.

The signing of an agreement this past week will allow better information sharing between RCMP, community services, the Ministry of Child and Family Development and other agencies.

That will allow easier risk assessment and better child safety.

“The actual ability to be able to do full information sharing within the parameters of everybody’s mandate is a significant piece now,” said Colette Madsen, program director with Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Community Services.

Each agency must follow its policies and privacy when dealing with records, Madsen explained. And until now, RCMP were limited in the type of information they could provide.

But the new agreement that will be signed this week will spell out how agencies can exchange files.

“This allows for information sharing, with parameters.”

That will create more collaboration between agencies and allow more streamlining of files to take place and reduce the number of times kids have to be interviewed.

Alisa’s Wish Child and Youth Advocacy Centre opened on Fraser Street, just south of Lougheed Highway, in 2013.

Since then, it’s helped about 150 kids who’ve been victims of or who have witnessed abuse.

The program involves Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Community Services, Ridge Meadows RCMP, the Ministry of Child and Family Development, School District No. 42, ACT2 Counselling, Victim Services and Cythera Transition House.

Alisa’s Wish, this spring, became fully incorporated into community services.

The program got its name from an incident in June 2009, when a five-year-old girl told her mother that she had been sexually abused by her father.

When Alisa revealed her secret, there was no centralized place in Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows where victims of such abuse could go for help.

Alisa’s Wish Child and Youth Advocacy Centre aims to provide wrap-around service for children and youth who are victims of abuse or witnesses to violence and their families.

The centre can also assists in the investigation and prosecution of offenders as the victim is less traumatized and able to provide crucial evidence.

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