Announcement of Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre welcomed

On Tuesday our City received some tremendous news, thanks in part to some strong community advocates.

It was announced the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre will be coming to Red Deer. Since the first Child Advocacy Centre (CAC) was launched in the U.S. in 1985, CACs have become recognized internationally as an effective and efficient way to support child and youth victims of sexual and physical assault.

CACs increase collaboration, reduce costs and speed up prosecutions. The newly announced Centre in Red Deer will become the 26th of its kind across Canada.

There are four main types of child abuse, according to the Sheldon Kennedy CAC web site. These include emotional abuse which can be, “Verbal attacks on a child’s sense of self, repeated humiliation or rejection. Exposure to violence, drugs, alcohol abuse or severe conflict in the home, forced isolation, restraint or causing a child to be afraid much of the time may also cause emotional harm. Emotional abuse rarely happens only once and it is usually part of a pattern of how the child is being treated.”

Neglect is another form of abuse which includes, “Any lack of care that causes serious harm to a child’s development or endangers the child in any way. Physical neglect is the failure to meet the child’s day-to-day basic needs. This includes failing to provide adequate nutrition, clothing, shelter, health care and protection from harm. Emotional neglect is the failure to meet the child’s ongoing emotional needs for affection and a sense of belonging.”

Physical and sexual abuse are also listed as types of abuse.

In Alberta, there are 775,175 children aged 0-17 years and 14,400 of those children sustained cases of child abuse, according to the web site.

The news of the CAC coming to Red Deer is definitely a positive one. Any supports that can be offered to children who have suffered any kind of abuse is a welcomed one.

One local family was instrumental in bringing the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre to our community.

This month marks the one year anniversary since Rick and Cindy More lost their 22-year-old daughter Lindsey. She took her own life after battling severe depression for a number of years.

The couple knew Lindsey struggled with depression, but they did not realize how difficult that struggle was.

After Lindsey’s death, Rick and Cindy have decided to turn their personal tragedy into hope for others. Together with help from community members, they have developed the Smiles Thru Lindsey Foundation via the Red Deer and District Community Foundation – which is geared towards providing financial help to young adults, teens and children dealing with depression.

Rick has also met with local politicians in hopes of raising awareness in the community.

For more information about the Smiles Thru Lindsey Foundation, check out their facebook page.

As for the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre, details are yet to come regarding the facility but we know there will be many ways in which the community can help. Whether it be by fundraising, volunteering time or just bringing overall awareness, there will be something for everyone to get involved with.

It is a positive thing to see supports geared towards helping the youth in our community. We look forward to seeing what the impacts will be once the Centre is up and running in the City, but one thing we know for sure is that impacts will be positive and this will only enhance our community as a whole.