The Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre has expanded to make its existing space more comfortable for clients, while the organization awaits construction of its new facility at Red Deer College.
CEO Mark Jones said the centre’s business offices moved down to the second floor of the Bunn Building at 4820 Gaetz Ave. Now, there’s more room for children and families in the busy third floor office to work with staff.
He recalled the doors opened at the temporary site on Dec. 14, 2017, and on Monday, their 752nd case came through the door. The centre has worked with clients from 72 communities.
“We just continue every day to have more and more opportunities to work throughout central Alberta. We really are trying to make a difference, and I think we are making a difference,” Jones said.
Modelled after the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre in Calgary, the facility pulls together staff from agencies such as the RCMP, family services, mental health, addictions programs and the Crown prosecutor’s office into one location to discuss cases.
The goal is to avoid duplication, service gaps and reduce the number of times children have to be interviewed.
Last December, Red Deer College announced that the province had allowed it to allocate about 1.07 acres of land for the stand-alone centre of excellence in support of child advocacy services and education.
The centre, which was given a 50-year lease, will be located in the southwest corner of the campus, near the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.
Jones said funding commitments are in place to build the $8-million facility and a business plan is being developed. Meetings also continue with government ministries.
“I would like everything finalized in the next two months, so we can actually move forward. Our goal has always been to build in the spring/summer of 2020 and that’s still our dream.”
On Tuesday, the Spirit of Sylvan Yuletide Festival announced the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre will be one of five charities to receive a portion of the money raised from the annual event.
New to the festival this year is Yuletide SPIRIT Night on Nov. 28, where people will be able to learn more about centre.