Located within The Centre for Child Development building in Surrey, Sophie's Place is a facility that will be a multi-disciplinary team including the RCMP, Ministry of Child and Family Services, medical and trauma screening professionals and volunteer advocates.
Sophie Tweed-Simmons, daughter of legendary music artist Gene Simmons(from the rock band KISS), a locally active child advocate and volunteer, became involved in the project to develop a facility of this kind following a meeting with Mayor Dianne Watts. An active participant in the process, Sophie aided with the construction of the centre and will act the patron to the facility that bears her name.
Sophie says "I am so excited to be part of what The Centre for Child Development is doing,” “I am especially honoured that Sophie's Place will be an umbrella for children where they can go to find help, feel safe and just hang out in an environment
where they can be heard, understood and respected; as all children should be. I have been blessed growing up in a house where I am treated as an equal and with love, the least I can do is help show children that that can be a possibility for everyone."
|RCMP Insp. Janis Gray first proposed the centre as a way of making it less scary for abused children to tell their stories to authorities. (CBC)|
"I am extremely happy to welcome Sophie’s Place into our facility,” says The Child Development Centre CEO Gerard Bremault.“We’re delighted to see that children who have experienced horrible abuse are going to receive a coordinated, multi-disciplinary service that provides greater support to them - and higher rates of conviction of the perpetrators.
The Centre for Child Development building in Surrey, is a facility which currently provides programs and services for over 2000 children with severe developmental disabilities annually.
The CDC is especially happy to see this facility come to reality so quickly, as children with special needs are four times as likely to be abused as all children.”
After a rigorous four-week construction schedule which saw over 60 volunteers including Surrey firefighters, Surrey RCMP, city staff, business leaders, companies and residents working throughout the Christmas holiday, Sophie’s Place will open its doors in February, 2012.
The multidisciplinary approach is modeled after children's advocacy centres in the United States, as well as Zebra Child Protection Centre in Edmonton.
Gerard Bremault added "This is phase one. There are even larger dreams given the number of children that are affected by abuse, to extend the size of the location. Over time, we want to bring in more and more team members from all the parties. This is the start."
Organizations and members of the public wishing to support this important cause can make a charitable donation to:Sophie’s Place Endowment Fund care of the Child Development Foundation of British Columbia at: www.cdfbc.ca or via mail at #170B –7881 128 Street Surrey, BC V3W 4E7. (Charitable Tax # 133210229 RR0001)
I applaud all people involved its nice when someone can lend a hand to others who are suffering in this world. We can all do our share by not letting this happen to begin with, protect our children they are our futures.
I thank you for reading this
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Pictures are copyright of Gene Simmons, The CBC and CDF.