Calgary and Area Child Advocacy Centre still providing essential services with precautions in place
CALGARY, AB – The Calgary and Area Child Advocacy Centre (CCAC) provides hope, help and healing for children, youth and families who have experienced severe and sexual abuse. In the last year, we have supported almost 2,000 children and youth at our Centre. During this unknown and stressful time, we remain open, with protective measures in place, to provide essential services to children, youth and their families. To ensure we are meeting the protocols surrounding Coronavirus transmission we are thoroughly cleaning our spaces after each client visit, staff who can are working remotely to reduce the number of people in the Centre and all clients are being asked prescreening questions (recommended by Alberta Health Services) before coming to the Centre. “We know that the cancellation of school and daycares means children are at home with their families and unfortunately, for some, home is not a safe place. At this time, it is important that we remain open to continue to serve children, youth and families and help them through the services that we provide,” says, Karen Orser, CEO, Calgary and Area Child Advocacy Centre.
As a Child Advocacy Centre, we worry about the increased stress that COVID 19 is placing on families. While the reporting of abuse may decrease temporarily as children are at home and isolated from important protective factors such as schools and community, we do expect to see an increase in caseloads as we move through this pandemic and families continue to struggle to cope. We typically see an increase in cases during times of stress, economic downtown, and at the end of the school year when teachers worry about the well-being of children over the summer. As a CAC, we are committed to doing whatever we need to support our partners and the children, youth and families who need our trauma-informed, and integrated services and support.
We also have a role to play in keeping our children safe and healthy. We are connecting families with resources, helping them meet their basic needs, and are supporting them to manage stress while building healthy relationships. Through educating the community about the impact of toxic stress on healthy brain development (and lifelong health and wellness), and by encouraging people to look out for their neighbors and be natural supports to the kids in their communities, we can work together to collectively increase protective factors and ensure healthy and resilient children and families.
Child abuse is everyone’s issue. If you suspect that a child is at risk for abuse it is not only a moral duty to report it, it is a legal duty. Your responsibility is simply to report suspicions or concerns, not prove them, and confidentiality is guaranteed. If you are worried about a child contact the following numbers:
- Calgary Children’s Services (Anonymously) – 403-297-2995
- Child Abuse Hotline – 1-800-387-5437 (KIDS)
- Calgary Police – 403-266-1234
- Your local RCMP detachment (https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/detach/en/find/AB#wb-cont)
As a Child Advocacy Centre (CAC) we are committed to our role of keeping children and youth in our community safe. A big part of that is providing support to parents and caregivers in stressful times by providing resources that are available in the community. Everyone copes with change and stress differently, please reach out to these additional resources if you are needing assistance:
- Access to Community, Social, Government resources – Call 211
- Distress Centre – 403.266.4357
- Canadian Mental Health Peer Support – Calgary -403-297-1402
- AHS Mental Health Help Line – 1-877-303-2642
- AHS Addiction 24/ 7 Help Line: 1-866-332-2322
- Hope for Wellness Help Line – Indigenous Support – 1-855-242-3310
- Sheldon Chumir Indigenous Mental Health Program – 403-955-6645
Across Alberta, there are eight CAC’s who offer support and services to children and youth who have experienced abuse. Each of the Centres’ is fully operational or in various stages of future development and together they are working so that wherever kids are they are being protected. Each community in Alberta can work together to ensure every child is heard and believed and we can do our part in being their voice when they need us most.
Founded in 2013. The Calgary and Area Child Advocacy Centre (CCAC) is a non-profit organization that, together with our partners, is taking a leadership role to advance the way our country understands and addresses child abuse. We work with our partner organizations to provide wrap-around services to assess, investigate, intervene, and support survivors of child abuse while bringing offenders to justice. Our team focuses on the most complex, severe, and urgent 15% of cases. This helps ease the workload for front-line service providers who support the other 85% of child intervention cases in Calgary and the surrounding communities. For more information, please visit our website.
Calgary & Area Child Advocacy Centre