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Poet the guide dog will greet children and youth at Kit's Place, a new child and youth advocacy centre in Saint John. Image: Submitted/Family Plus

Child and youth advocacy centre opens in Saint John

By Brad Perry May 29, 2023 | 4:46 PM

A state-of-the-art child and youth advocacy centre has officially opened its doors in Saint John.

Kit’s Place supports children and youth in southern New Brunswick who have been victims of sexual assault.

It is operated by Family Plus, a not-for-profit mental health service provider first founded in 1929.

Sharon Amirault, CEO of Family Plus, said the new centre is a one-stop model for children, youth and their families.

“Under the old model, when a child disclosed abuse, they would go to a police station, a lawyer’s office, a social worker’s office and so on — usually about five stops — to have to tell their story over and over again,” said Amirault.

“What a child and youth advocacy centre does is all of the services come to a child.”

Amirault said there are many child and youth advocacy centres across the country but this is only the second one in New Brunswick.

The Boreal Child and Youth Expertise Centre opened in the Greater Moncton region back in 2017.

RELATED: Child and youth advocacy centre coming to Saint John

A 2019 study determined there was a need for a similar centre in Greater Saint John, said Amirault, and Family Plus was chosen as the organization to lead the project.

“At the worst time in a child’s life, Kit’s Place will be there to support them and their family with our multi-disciplinary team wrapping services around them all in one safe place,” said Katina Feggos, clinical manager at Family Plus.

The cutting-edge centre is located in the freshly opened and newly-designed Family Plus facility in Lancaster Mall. It will serve families from St. Stephen through to Sussex.

Kit’s Place will be funded through the federal Department of Justice Canada for the first five years, said Amirault.

“When that funding is done, then our support will come from the community,” she said. “We still have a long road ahead to raise the money to keep it open, but that would be what Family Plus will do next.”

Amirault said they have received incredible support from the community ever since the creation of the centre was first announced.

Anyone interested in making a donation to Kit’s Place can do so through the Family Plus website.


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