Time to #meettheherd!
This week, we’re taking a look at what our three Family Support Coordinators (FSCs) do at the Zebra Child Protection Centre! Maggie, Victoria, and Brooklyn oversee the coordination of resources and support from the Centre’s on-site and off-site partners, ensuring that families get the information they need quickly and get the best kind of support when they need it most.
FSCs have three major jobs: making face-to-face contact with children and families, providing families with information and resources over the phone, and coordinating supports throughout the continuum of care. Some of the things you would see FSCs doing around the Centre include greeting kids and families and making sure that they’re comfortable and supported during their time at the Centre; teaching children about court in order to help them testify; and even attending court with families. Through these jobs, our FSCs provide support from the moment of disclosure, through the criminal investigation, court process and healing journey.
Here at the Zebra Centre, we have what we call “Zebra Moments”: special moments that stick with us and remind us of children’s bravery and resiliency. We asked each of our FSCs what their favorite Zebra Moment is:
Maggie: “I had a kid come to the Centre who was distraught and would not go into a child-friendly space. They didn’t like dogs, didn’t want to do anything. I finally got them to calm down because they told me they liked cats and slime. I found some play-doh and sat at the front with them, and we slowly together made a clay cat. Then she felt comfortable enough to go for her forensic interview with the detective. Then they came back and we finished our cat. We then made a mouse, and a dog, everything to go with our cat. It felt really good not just to be able to help that kid find a way to have their voice, but also to work together with the detective to make sure that they felt safe enough to tell us what was going on. They were able to go home shortly afterwards.”
Victoria: “One day, the Child at Risk Response Team (CARRT) brought 2 young kids, stopping along the way to get them food, and brought them to the Centre. We then had our psychologist on-site, as well as multicultural health brokers who were helping us to provide support. It was just incredible to see how the team worked. We created for them a safe environment, were there to provide comfort to them, we had Children’s Services working on the safety plan and finding somewhere safe and familiar for the children to stay. We had the police working on the investigative side of things. It was one of those surreal moments where these two little children were standing there and there was representation from almost all of our partners and we had actually formed a circle around them. It was very symbolic and powerful to see our team around these children.”
Brooklyn: “I was court prepping a 6 year-old child who was going to go to court to testify. We were going over the types of questions they may be asked in court, difficult questions or questions that they don’t understand. The fear is not knowing, and if we can take that away, we can make a difference for these kids and teens. I asked them what they would say if they were asked a question that they didn’t understand. Their response was “You mean if they were speaking French? Well I would ask them to stop speaking French and start talking in English.” I couldn’t help but laugh and appreciate the innocence of these children, even in the difficult situation that they are in.”
When it comes to supporting kids and families throughout their journey, our FSCs are always ready to help children in need. With them, we know children are getting the best support possible.