The Government of Alberta is providing $3.4 million to help build a new Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre (CACAC) in Red Deer. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney was at Red Deer Polytechnic (RDP) to make the announcement.
“The centre will provide counselling to kids who have been abused and prevent abuse from happening to other kids. It will protect kids. It will save lives,” said Kenney.
The new centre will be located on Red Deer Polytechnic land in order to encourage further involvement in the education system with child advocacy.
“Our goal for our advocacy centre was to have it a place where we could really create a change in the way that we work and deal with child abuse and mental health issues and to be able to be associated with Red Deer Polytechnic is a match made in heaven. It’s going to allow us to change the way that we do things and the way we do business in an integrated fashion,” said Mark Jones, CEO of the CACAC.
Already Jones says the integrative learning has started with the CACAC providing several lessons and courses to the students of RDP.
Jones gave thanks to Minister of Education, Adrianna LaGrange for her help in making the connection between child advocacy and the education world. He also thanked the rest of those involved with the CACAC for their work and others for getting the project off of the ground.
“The Central Alberta Advocacy Centre is changing the way that Central Albertans will respond to child abuse. It will work collectively with partners across central Alberta to ensure that every child’s needs are met and that every child is supported in the most effective way,” said Kenney.
A childhood survivor of sexual abuse who has utilized the services of the CACAC named Amanda Bruin said the centre’s integrative approach to child abuse helped her deal with the abuse she faced from the ages of 8 to 14.
“It’s a one place location where your needs are fulfilled and you’re not having to retell your story to different people. They all will be able to see your file so you want have to relive that and continue reliving it with every new mental health person you’re seeing and every new RCMP officer that’s interviewing you,” said Bruin.
The total cost of the project will be $22.4 million which include $19 million in donor funding and equity and the $3.4 million from the Alberta Government. The money from the government will be used to connect utility lines to service the land.
If everything goes as planned, Jones says shovels will be in the ground by the summer of 2022 and they are hopeful to occupy the building by 2023.