By Jessica Jones For The Independent
A Central Alberta not-for-profit’s integrated approach to supporting and treating children impacted by abuse is making a difference in the local community.
The Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre (CACAC) located in Red Deer first started as a coalition, then board of directors, in early 2016. It has grown into a centre that has assisted with the recovery of over 426 children and youth, many from Wetaskiwin and other rural areas.
“When a child comes forward to say that they are being abused, it takes courage and bravery,” says Mark Jones, CEO of CACAC who, along with partners, assisted in building the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre. “We work together in that collective courage,” he said.
The CACAC facilitates forensic interviews, while also partnering with many services such as, Children’s Services, Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre, Alberta Health Services Addiction and Mental Health, Alberta Justice and Education and the RCMP.
In the past, explained Jones, a child could possibly be traumatized again by having to speak about the abuse multiple times, to differing agencies. The CACAC has brought all relevant partners together to ensure there is a safe environment to treat abused children, youth and their families, and support their recovery and stop the cycle of abuse.
“When kids come into the centre, 96 per cent of them know their perpetrator,” Jones said, explaining that the centre also works to educate families in preventing situations of abuse from occurring.
“No one is exempt from abuse,” he said.
As the centre grows, and as it supports more and more children and their families, the CACAC will be moving to a larger site at Red Deer College in order to expand and better serve Central Alberta. Jones says they hope to break ground on this site in July.
A dream home lottery fundraiser for the CACAC has been set up, Jones explained to “fundraise for the most vulnerable kids in Central Alberta.” The home is located at 57 Larratt Close in Red Deer and has show home hours. Visit www.cacaclottery.ca, phone 1-833-475-4402, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
“We want to give children the promise of the possibility of regaining their youth and childhood,” said Jones.
“We are doing everything we can to fundraise for the most vulnerable kids in Central Alberta. By purchasing your tickets today you are supporting the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre and investing in the promise and possibility of a healthy future for our children and our community.”