Protection of Children during COVID-19: Message from Mayor Kathryn McGarry

Posted on Thursday April 30, 2020

During this pandemic, many children are at risk. Those who were vulnerable before are more vulnerable now because of physical isolation.

There has been a drop in referral calls to Family and Children's Services in the Waterloo Region and at the same time police are seeing an increase in calls related to domestic violence. 

We know that most parents are doing the best they can for their children, but in times of high anxiety and financial stress, they may become overwhelmed. Right now, children are not in classrooms or daycares where teachers or caregivers might notice things that worry them.

So we, the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council, Waterloo Regional Police Service, and many other community partners, are reaching out to community members to watch out for concerns or signs.

Even during this pandemic, children still need their village.

You can help by:

  1. Keeping open communication with your children about their friend groups. Kids and teens may tell their own friends about issues at home.
  2. Ensuring online safety at home. Children and teens no longer have the outlet of activities and may be more vulnerable to online predators.
  3. Checking in with families and friends who you know may be struggling.
  4. Referring families to the Family Compass website if they need community resources and support.
  5. Sharing with kids you know that Kids Help Phone is an e-mental health service which is open 24/7 without any face-to-face contact.
  6. Contacting Family and Children’s Services (519-623-6970 in Cambridge) if you have concerns about a child. This is a safety net for children at risk.
  7. Considering becoming a Short Term Care Provider for children whose parents are unable to look after them because they are ill with the COVID-19 virus. Visit to learn more.
  8. Sharing this message with your colleagues and people in your network.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, or know someone who may be, please call 911 or the WRPS non-emergency line at 519-570-9777. Haven House in Cambridge is another resource at 519-653-2422

#strongertogetherwr  #cbridge

Video on COVID-19 and domestic violence.