The triage team, consisting of staff from RCMP, Alberta Health Services, Child and Family Services and others, meet every Wednesday at Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre to discuss cases. (Photo by Susan Zielinski/Advocate staff)

Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre helping children, teens and families

Red Deer centre averages six cases a week

In its first four weeks of operation, the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre reviewed 35 possible child abuse cases, which resulted in 29 forensic interviews with children and youth mostly from Red Deer.

Modelled after the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre in Calgary, the centre pulls together staff from agencies like RCMP, family services, mental health, addictions programs, and the Crown prosecutor’s office into one location to discuss cases to avoid duplication, service gaps, and reduce the number of times children have to be interviewed.

“We have brought 35 cases to the table to have them triaged to come up with a plan to see what we need to do,” said the centre’s CEO Mark Jones Wednesday.

He said cases don’t necessarily lead to full-scale investigations or charges of sexual or physical abuse, or neglect.

“Some of them lead to lots of family counselling and help and support for not only the victim but the family.”

He said cases have involved children three to 18 years old, with about 60 per cent being girls. It could involve recent or historical abuse because it depends on when the child feels safe enough to say something.

In June 2016, a Red Deer coalition received $150,000 to assess the needs of the region and develop an operational plan for a local advocacy centre. The funding was part of $1.7 million to support existing child advocacy centres in Calgary, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, as well as emerging centres in Fort McMurray, Lethbridge, Lloydminster and Red Deer.

He said the centres are now working with the province to come up with a funding framework.

Offices at the downtown Bunn Building, at 4820 Gaetz Ave., were renovated this fall to temporarily house the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre which opened Nov. 29. It includes interview and play therapy rooms.

“Our goal is to try and make (children) as comfortable as possible while they’re here,” Jones said.

He recalled how one girl thanked staff for removing a huge weight from her shoulders.

“Every child that comes through our doors, we give them a quilt. She wrapped that quilt around her and never took it off. She walked out the door with it wrapped around her arms.”



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Fire investigators comb through industrial fire wreckage looking for answers

Industrial building in north Red Deer was completely gutted in Wednesday morning fire

Time for a central Albertan in cabinet, says chamber of commerce

Central Alberta had no cabinet ministers in last government

Trump Russia probe finally delivers some answers

WASHINGTON — After nearly two years of waiting, America is getting some… Continue reading

Trans Mountain Pipeline deadline extended

OTTAWA — The federal government is delaying a decision on the Trans… Continue reading

WATCH video of Innisfail resident creating the world’s biggest caricature

Watch as Innisfail resident Dean Foster creates the world’s biggest caricature of… Continue reading

CRA’s automatic benefit registrations give retirees reason to file on time

TORONTO — This is the time of year when procrastinators begin to… Continue reading

Study: Genetic test predicts middle-aged obesity risk

NEW YORK — Can a genetic test identify newborns at risk of… Continue reading

Downtown Red Deer Co-op Plaza Food store closing

Central Alberta Co-op is closing its downtown Red Deer Plaza food store… Continue reading

Earth, meet Polo: Ralph Lauren unveils plastic bottle shirt

NEW YORK — Earth, meet Polo. Polo Ralph Lauren on Thursday launched… Continue reading

Statistics Canada reports retail sales rose 0.8 per cent in February

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says retail sales rose 0.8 per cent in… Continue reading

Inflation rises 1.9% on higher prices for fresh vegetables, mortgage costs

OTTAWA — Canada’s annual inflation was up last month as price pressures… Continue reading

Netflix adds 9.6M subscribers in 1Q as competition heats up

SAN FRANCISCO — Netflix kicked off the year with the biggest subscriber… Continue reading

Liberals find anti-Trudeau sentiment on campaign trail in Prince Edward Island

OTTAWA — When voters in Prince Edward Island go to the polls… Continue reading

Most Read