Strategies for network building
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Lara Rooney, Policy Analyst at the Policy Centre for Victim Issues, Department of Justice Canada, introduced this session.
Cindy Paskey, executive director of the Niagara Child Advocacy Centre, reported that their Centre has been open and operating for almost 5 years. The focus of this CAC has been to ensure long term financial stability, and she emphasized that funding is a major theme of everything she does. Over the years she has had many conversations addressing funding issues with all levels of government – locally, regionally, provincially, nationally. She advised that when seeking government funding, you need a collaborative voice. She stressed that community support is essential to ensuring the sustainability of a CAC.
In terms of funding, she is often asked about the cost/benefit data of the CAC, but noted that information on this research is currently scarce in Canada. She stressed that there is a need to show collectively that CACs have better outcomes for communities “we can demonstrate together that we have better outcomes that make a difference.”
She talked about the Ontario network of CACs which was recently set up with Trillium Foundation funding – they have had two meetings so far. She noted that “collectively we have the ability to make an impact.”
Fred Ford, Board Chair and Acting Project Manager of ORCA Children’s Advocacy Centre Society in Victoria, acknowledged that this (NSM) gathering “has been a great networking opportunity for all of us.” He described networking as a process of developing productive relationships, and is based on good will. He noted that, while ORCA has had meetings and established positive connections with key organizations such as police detachments, staff have changed over time. This means they had to start over – so progress is slow. He established a British Columbia CAC network, but noted that it is “still very loose” and not very active recently.
QUESTIONS, ANSWERS, COMMENTS
- A website for Canadian CACs would be very helpful – a forum for information sharing where we can continue to post more information, practical tools, protocols, and continue networking.
- An online resource centre for documents and protocols
- An e-mail list with all involved CACs and agencies.
- A discussion group linked to the website – this would be a members-only section
- Annual and biannual conferences for CACs – consider options for meetings that can be conducted online, without travel.
- Webinars on special topics – perhaps quarterly
- Ongoing national research – this would help unify various provinces and territories.
- Data collection is critical – and should be done now rather than 10 years from now. CACs that are now in development should be collecting data early – to establish baselines. How can we collect common language statistics? Create an access database to run reports?
- The national CAC website would help everyone to learn about successes, so we can celebrate together
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