Kootenay Boundary

Safe Kids & Youth (SKY) Coordinated Response


The SKY Coordinated Response aims to ensure that children and youth in the West Kootenay Boundary region who come forward about their experiences of abuse, violence or neglect receive the best possible response from the range of services they connect with. Coordination and collaboration among the various agencies are key to creating the intended result.





The current phase of SKY is focused on implementing signed ‘cooperation agreements’ in five areas of the region (Castlegar, Trail, Nelson, Grand Forks, and Nakusp), and developing written protocols in additional areas (Salmo, Kaslo and Midway).  These agreements describe how all the multi-disciplinary partners – police, child protection, victim services, health-care providers and community service agency staff – will work together to provide a seamless response to child and youth abuse.

A visual illustration of the SKY Coordinated Response Model can be found here.

The SKY practice flow model can be found here.

Download our SKY pamphlet.

Training Webinars related to CYACs can be found here.


For more information, contact our Regional SKY Coordinator.

Email: SKY@thekoop.ca or Call: 250-352-6786 ext. 225


For information about local SKY Coordinated Responses, or to get involved, please contact Victim Services in your area:

     Boundary: 250-442-5846 (Cathy Riddle)

     Castlegar: 250-365-7721 (Christine Van Dyke)

     Kaslo: 250-353-7691 (Jana Huismans)

     Nakusp/New Denver: 250-265-4834 (Jillian Koftinoff)

     Nelson: 250-352-5777 (Krysta Aronson)

     Salmo: 250-357-2692 (Diana Gonzalez)

     Trail: 250-364-2326 ext. 227 (Nadia Usher)



The project began in 2011 with a Feasibility Study to determine if a Child Advocacy Centre would work in our region.  It concluded that the traditional urban model would not work here; it did, however, find widespread support for developing a unique rural model for a more coordinated overall response and approach to child abuse.

Phase Two took place in 2012 and involved stakeholders from all the relevant disciplines across the region in developing a Preliminary Program Model for a more coordinated response for child and youth victims across the region.  A key aspect of the model is its focus on an ongoing collaborative process involving all the relevant agencies.  A Regional Advisory Committee was formed that includes stakeholders from police (municipal and regional), child protection, crown counsel, specialized and police-based victim services, education, health and a number of community agencies that provide support and advocacy for children, youth and families.  This regional committee links to local coordinating committees in each of the five areas of the region – Greater Trail, Castlegar and District, Nelson and Area, Nakusp and Area, and Grand Forks/Boundary – to support interagency collaboration in determining how best to improve the experiences of child and youth victims.  Thus, the project is regionally coordinated, with community-specific implementation strategies. Collaboration Structure

Phase Three (Autumn 2013 to Summer 2015) began to implement the model’s  Vision, Goals and Strategy Statements. A Regional SKY Coordinator began to work closely with Local SKY Coordinators from each of the five areas, and information and ideas have since flowed between the regional and local levels.  Stakeholders from all the relevant agencies across the region have engaged together in information sharing, training and the development of draft protocols that describe and foster a more unified response for child and youth victims.

Phase Four (Summer 2015 to March 2017): “Cooperation Agreements” were finalized and signed by all the relevant partners in all five of the areas of the region and multi-disciplinary SKY Teams in each of those areas began to implement the model.



April 13th, 2016  Local SKY Coordinator in the News.  Nelson & Area SKY Coordinator, Sarah Bolton, was recently interviewed by the Nelson Star, along with emergency nurse Rosanne Fordeczka and Sergeant Nate Holt of the Nelson Police Department about the improved sexual assault response in Nelson.  Funding for three of the nurses to attend the Sexual Assault Examiner training in Vancouver was provided by SKY, and Sarah has been instrumental in building local multi-disciplinary collaboration around issues of abuse and violence.  Download the full article, ‘The voice of the victim is getting stronger’ here or view it online here.


March 14th, 2016.  Sharing the SKY Coordinated Response Model.  We were invited to present in Kelowna and Fernie this fall/winter.  Both communities are interested in developing more collaborative responses for child and youth victims and were keen to learn about the work of SKY to date.  We also provided input into Canadian guidelines for Child & Youth Advocacy Centres (CYACs), with an emphasis on rural models designed to achieve the same aims as a stand alone centre.


February 12th, 2016.  Duty to Report events in collaboration with Ministry of Child and Family Development.  This winter, SKY Coordinators are collaborating with MCFD Director of Practice for the Kootenays and local Team Leaders to offer learning sessions across the region on the legislated duty to report child protection concerns, what to expect from making such a report, and the benefits of a coordinated response for children, youth, and families.  To date, three events have been held, in Nelson, Trail and Grand Forks with a total of 81 participants.


August 9th, 2015  Pilot Funding Announced.  The SKY Coordinated Response received word that it will receive additional funding from the Department of Justice to pilot the draft cooperation agreements developed in each of the five areas.  The new phase will begin in October 2015.


May 29th, 2015  Enhanced Skills for Health Care Providers Providing Examinations for Sexual Abuse/Assault. Over the course of the fall and spring, the SKY Coordinated Response has had the opportunity to be involved in supporting and organizing training for 10 physicians and 7 nurses in our region on Sexual Assault Examination (for youth and adults) and Child Sexual Abuse Medical Evaluations.  Building our regional capacity to offer these important health services is a key piece of a multi-disciplinary coordinated response that will benefit children and youth.


May 27th, 2015  New Logo to Accompany our New Name.  We are so happy to share our new logo with the everyone.  Ta da!  Thanks to the members of the Regional Advisory Committee and all the SKY Coordinators who gave such thoughtful feedback on various iterations, and to Nichola from Pink Dog Designs for her excellent work creating an image that captures the support, connection, and hope that we strive to achieve through the SKY Coordinated Response.



May 20th, 2015  Regional Training on Child & Youth Trauma.  Between April and June, training events are being held around the region on the topic of child and youth trauma.  Dr. Todd Kettner, Psychologist, presents his one-day Trauma Debrief Training and Monica Carpendale, Executive Director of the Kutenai Art Therapy Institute, presents The Ground and the Horizon: a look at the impact of trauma on children and youth in various locations throughout the West Kootenay Boundary.

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Monica Carpendale discussing the impact of abuse on the worldview of children and youth on May 20th in Nelson.

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Dr. Todd Kettner sharing the connection between adverse childhood experiences and subsequent physical and mental health outcomes with 73 participants in Grand Forks on May 8th.

To date, over 150 people from various disciplines who work with children and youth across the region have participated in the workshops.


April 30th, 2015  Child-friendly interview rooms in all 5 areas of the region. We are happy to report that there are now “child-friendly” interview rooms in each of the five areas of the region: Castlegar, Grand Forks, Trail, Nelson and Nakusp.  With support from SKY, rooms in each of the locations were enhanced to have comfortable furnishings, age-appropriate items on hand, and the necessary audio-video equipment to record interviews.

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Child-friendly interview room in Castlegar.



October 30th, 2014  New Name and Updated Vision Statements.  On September 30th, the Regional Advisory Committee met and made some important decisions.  From a list of potential names suggested by participants in the June ‘Strengthening Coordination’ events, a clear winner emerged: The Safe Kids & Youth (SKY) Coordinated Response.  The Committee also unanimously adopted all the amalgamated changes suggested at the June events and since to SKY’s Vision, Goals and Strategies Statements.  The new Vision, Goals and Strategies Statements can be downloaded here:



June 30th, 2014  ‘Strengthening Coordination’  Regional Events.  On June 2nd, 3rd and 4th, events were held in Grand Forks, Nakusp and Castlegar respectively to bring project stakeholders together from across the West Kootenay Boundary region to build on our previous collaborative work.  Facilitators from the Ending Violence Association of BC, well known for their work in supporting coordinated community responses across the province, shared information on the importance and benefits of coordination; facilitated the development of guidelines for how we want to work together, as well as updates of our vision, goals and strategy statements; and guided us in mapping the current response when a child or youth comes forward with an experience of abuse or violence.  Participants left the workshops interested in getting together again in their local area to continue the dialogue and begin to develop local protocols for working together across agencies to best support children and youth.

Participants at the ‘Strengthening Our Response’ event in Castlegar, on June 4th.

An Arrow Lake News article about the June 3rd event in Nakusp can be found here.


April 30th, 2014  Regional Advisory Committee Meeting.  The Regional Advisory Committee met to hear and share updates from each of the five areas of the region, and to advise on next steps for the project.


Members of the Regional Advisory Committee meeting April 2014.


March 30th, 2014  StepWise Child Forensic Interviewing Training.  Trainers from the Forensic Alliance of BC came to our region to facilitate a 3-day workshop on child forensic interviewing for child protection social workers and police.  Victim Service workers and the Coordinator/Advocates from each of the areas also attended an overview of the StepWise techniques.   A description of the workshop can be found here: http://theforensicalliance.com/services/workshops/the-step-wise-interview-guidelines-for-children-the-next-generation/ .

Hugues Hervé, Ph.D. Forensic Psychology, and Andy Stewart, former police member of the Saanich Child Abuse Investigations Team, lead the three-day training on StepWise child forensic interviewing for the Forensic Alliance.

Hugues Hervé, Ph.D. Forensic Psychology, and Andy Stewart, former police member of the Saanich Child Abuse Investigations Team, lead the three-day training on StepWise child forensic interviewing for the Forensic Alliance.


February 17, 2014  Funding Announcement. David Wilks, MP for Kootenay-Columbia was in Nelson on February 17th to announce the funding the Kootenay Boundary Community Services Cooperative (KBCSC) received from the Department of Justice for the Coordinated Response for Child and Youth Victims project.   Judy Pollard, Chair of the KBCSC, welcomed everyone, David announced the funding on behalf of Peter McKay, and Prudence-Elise Breton, KBCSC Executive Coordinator, described how the funds will be used.  Lynda Dechief, SKY Regional Coordinator, and Sarah Bolton, Nelson’s local SKY Coordinator were also there to answer questions.  In attendance were representatives from local radio and print media, city council, MCFD, Nelson Police Department, and several of our member community agencies.  Thanks to everyone who came out!  Read more about the press conference in the Nelson Star.

From left: Lynda Dechief, CRCYV Regional Coordinator; Judy Pollard, KBCSC Board Chair; David Wilks, MP Kootenay Columbia; Prudence-Elise Breton, KBCSC Executive Coordinator

From left: Lynda Dechief, SKY Regional Coordinator; Judy Pollard, KBCSC Board Chair; David Wilks, MP Kootenay-Columbia; Prudence-Elise Breton, KBCSC Executive Coordinator