New children’s mental health supports
Young survivors of sexual and physical child abuse will have access to new support and counselling services at the Zebra Child Protection Centre with a grant from the provincial government.
The Zebra Centre will receive a $1.2 million grant over three years. The new funding will ensure children and their families have increased access to immediate crisis intervention, mental health assessments and caregiver support.
“For children who’ve experienced the trauma of sexual or physical abuse, making sure mental health services are provided as quickly as possible is extremely important. The Zebra Centre is well known for its work addressing and responding to the needs of children and families in crisis and we’re proud to help support that work.”
“Last year, the Zebra Child Protection Centre supported over 1,600 children and youth. Providing these children with early trauma intervention and timely access to quality mental health services is imperative to build a healthier future and help set them on the path towards healing and recovery.”
The new funding supports the hiring of Dr. Marcia Gordeyko, a child and family psychologist with Alberta Health Services. Dr. Gordeyko will serve as clinical lead for a new Trauma Treatment Service at the Zebra Centre. As the service is developed, the funding will allow for additional mental health professionals.
“Working collaboratively as part of the multidisciplinary team at Zebra will strengthen our ability to provide timely and family-centered mental health care for children and youth. The focus of our new Trauma Treatment Service will be to identify the impact of abuse and provide families with evidence-based treatment to help them cope with trauma they have experienced. Improving access to mental health services and building capacity within our children’s mental health services in the community are key goals of this new partnership with the Zebra Centre.”
Children and their families will also benefit from additional support navigating the health system, which will help reduce the stress they feel at an already difficult time.
The Alberta government continues to improve mental health services following the Valuing Mental Health review. Budget 2017 allocated $15 million specifically to support recommendations in the Valuing Mental Health Report. The funding for the Zebra Centre directly addresses supports for children, youth and families, one of the priority populations identified in the review.
- The Zebra Centre brings together different agencies to deal effectively with child abuse allegations in a child-focused and child-friendly space, with the goal of improving the life experiences of children who have suffered abuse.
- The range of services provided by the Zebra Centre include 24-hour crisis response, counselling and court supports for children and youth.
- In 2017, 1,609 children and youth were supported by the Zebra Centre and 909 new files were referred to the organization.