For Caregivers

Our Child and Youth Advocate

The Child and Youth Advocate is a full-time staff member at Oak Centre whose role is to help you navigate the system. Our Child and Youth Advocate will be there to greet you when you arrive at Oak Centre, and help your child to feel comfortable before their interview. While your child is being interviewed, the Advocate will meet with you to discuss what supports your family might need. The Advocate will provide emotional and practical support, service referrals, and make sure your child’s best interests remain at the center of the process. Once the interview is over you can meet with the interviewer while your child enjoys the activities in our family room, accompanied by Oak Centre staff. Following your visit to Oak Centre, the Child and Youth Advocate will follow up with you and provide support to you and your child for as long as necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any other questions, please contact us.

When do I tell my child about the interview?

You know your child best, so use your own judgment to decide when is the best time to tell them about the interview. Below are some suggestions that could be helpful in making this decision:

  • Younger children (ages 3-7): on the day itself or when you are on your way to Oak Centre
  • Older children: the day before so they are not taken by surprise

What can I tell my child before the interview?

Do not tell your child what to say or what not to say. You can try something like:

  • “I’m taking you to meet someone. Their job is to listen to kids.”
  • “You can talk about anything.”
  • “It’s okay and important to tell the truth.”
  • “You are not in trouble.”

Can I watch the interview, or stay with my child while they’re being interviewed?

You can’t watch or be present in the interview, but if you are accompanying your child to Oak Centre, you will be near them at all times in case they need you. Your child will never have to talk if they don’t want to, and the interviewer will let them know that they can take breaks or stop the interview at any time.

How long do interviews take?

It depends on how long your child wants to talk. Usually, interviews take 45-60 minutes, but give yourself at least 90 minutes to be at Oak Centre so you can ask any questions and talk to the interviewer about the next steps once the interview is over.

How do I help my child after the interview?

After the interview it may be helpful to ask the interviewer or Advocate what you should be discussing with your child about their time at Oak Centre. If your child chooses to talk about the interview, just listen. Assure your child of your love and support, no matter what was said in the interview. For example, you could say:

  • “I’m proud of you.”
  • “What happened isn’t your fault.”
  • “You’re not in any trouble.”

Who will be interviewing my child?

The interviewer may be a member of the RCMP (police) or a social worker. They are specially trained to carefully listen to children and to follow your child’s direction. Your child will never have to talk if they don’t want to, can ask for breaks from talking, and can stop the interview at any time. A different police officer or social worker will be watching and recording the interview from another room. The interview will be recorded on video.

Will there be other families at Oak Centre while we are there?

To respect your privacy, your family will be the only one at Oak Centre during your appointment.

Should I come earlier than my appointment time?

Please arrive at Oak Centre no more than 5 minutes before your appointment time. There may be another family scheduled at Oak Centre before you, and we would like to give everyone the most amount of privacy possible.

What type of support can my family get from Oak Centre?

The Child and Youth Advocate is an emotional support for you and your child, and works with your family to figure out what practical supports are most needed. If you choose to have us contact you after your initial visit, we can continue to provide support as your journey progresses, either over the phone or in-person. If you choose, the Child and Youth Advocate will also act as a contact with other agencies, making sure all the agencies involved are keeping your child’s best interest at the center of the case and that you receive information in a timely manner.

Can my family continue to get support from Oak Centre after we leave?

Yes, if you choose, you can get support from our Child and Youth Advocate as long as necessary. Please let us know if you have any specific needs, and we’ll work with you to develop a plan. Oak Centre services are voluntary and the Advocate will discuss this with you when you arrive.

How do I let Oak Centre staff know that my family’s needs have been met and that I don’t need any additional services?

The goal of the Oak Centre staff is to ensure your family has all the services that you require. Once you feel that you have what you need, please tell us. If anything changes, you are encouraged to contact us and we can discuss how to help.

How you can help

To make a donation to Oak Centre through CanadaHelps.org please:

Select Oak Centre from the dropdown selection (default is General)