BIG ANNOUNCEMENT - Former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy spoke at a press conference held at City Hall announcing the new Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre for Red Deer.

New child advocacy centre to open in Red Deer

  • Sep. 7, 2016 2:35 p.m.

Coming together was the central theme of the morning in City Hall Park on Tuesday as citizens and community organizations from around Central Alberta gathered as Sheldon Kennedy announced plans for a new Child Advocacy Centre in Red Deer.

The new Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre will bring together people and organizations from the community to offer a variety of services to children, youth, and families that have been impacted by child abuse.

“That’s what these issues need. We need to be able to share important information in the best interests of the child so that we can have the best outcomes. I’m here to support and help in any way we can,” said Sheldon Kennedy, a former National Hockey League player and long-time child abuse advocate.

The new Centre, which is being spearheaded by a committee of local volunteers, will be modelled after the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre in Calgary and will create a single space that brings together the RCMP, Alberta Health Services, Child and Family Services and Mental Health and Addictions to help streamline the effective use of resources to effectively and efficiently investigate and resolve child abuse cases.

Mark Jones, the co-chair of the CAC committee and a former principal at Central Middle School in Red Deer, said the sharing of information between organizations greatly reduces the burden on a victim.

“I’ll give you a situation of a child who disclosed that they were being sexually abused. So they do the disclosure to me as the administrator. It’s my responsibility to phone Child and Family Services,” said Jones, adding then the child is taken through a series of interviews with various organizations, including the Child and Family Services and in-depth interviews with the RCMP.

“When we went to the Sheldon Kennedy Centre, what we saw was them interview that child in one room. Everybody together, it’s a taped interview. Over 90 per cent of those interviews the child has to do one interview, one time and it’s done. That, to me is monumental.”

Kennedy said true integration is the ultimate goal when it comes to dealing with cases of child abuse.

“To me this isn’t an end-game. To me this is about progress and to keep making progress, continuous progress. I do know this – when we work together, we’re better. End of story.”

While no plans are set in stone in terms of location and costs of the Centre, Jones said the coalition has been discussing a number of different options.

“Whether we have a stand alone building or we have a centre where we can have lots of opportunities to have other agencies in there. We’re still in the discussion stages of that. Our hope is to have that finalized hopefully in the next 90 to 120 days.”

On Sept. 15th, the committee is hosting a screening of the Sheldon Kennedy documentary Swift Current at the Red Deer College Arts Centre. Jones said the screening will be a launch pad for other fundraising initiatives.

zcormier@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

Pop Evil hits the stage at Bo’s Nov. 25th

Acclaimed band is touring in support of self-titled disc released early this year

Oh What a Night! celebrates iconic American legends

Frankie Valli and Andy Williams honoured during Red Deer show

Red Deer Lights the Night gets residents into the holiday spirit

Free winter festival is on Saturday, Nov. 17th from 4 to 7 p.m.

Rebels Forward Brandon Hagel signs deal with Chicago Blackhawks

Alexeyev, Anders make Player and Goalie of the Week in October and early November

First Nation marks ‘milestone’ land deal at Alberta ceremony

Lubicon Lake First Nation Chief Billy-Joe Laboucan signed treaty last month

What now for Calgary, Canada and Olympic Games after 2026 rejection?

Calgary, along with the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C., made Canada a player in the international sport community

Naked man arrested for impaired driving

The man allegedly fled the scene of a collision wearing only a sheet. Plus other Ponoka RCMP briefs

Sex-misconduct survey excludes vulnerable military members: Survivors’ group

But It’s Just 700 says recent research has shown young military members and those on training are among those most at risk for sexual violence

Many child killers have been placed in Indigenous healing lodges according to stats

As of mid-September, there were 11 offenders in healing lodges who had been convicted of first- or second-degree murder of a minor

Expect no quick end to Canada-wide cannabis shortages, producers warn

Provinces including British Columbia, Alberta have all reported varying degrees of shortages

Canada Post strike having ‘critical’ impact on retailers, eBay tells PM

Canada Post says it is now facing an unprecedented backlog of shipments, largely as a result of strikes

NASA wants Canadian boots on the moon as first step in deep space exploration

The U.S. is seeking broad international support for the next-generation space station to send into orbit a in 2021

B.C. man wanted in connection to domestic assault in Edmonton

Sterling Miles Booker has ‘ROCK’ and ‘ROLL’ tattooed on his hands

Most Read