New funding model for child advocacy centres

Children Services Minister Rebecca Schulz announced a consistent, sustainable funding model for child advocacy centres in Alberta during an event at the Zebra Child Protection Centre in Edmonton. Left to right, Zebra CEO Cheryl Diebel, Children’s Services Minister Rebecca Schulz and Zebra board chair Allison McCollum share a quality moment with service dog Wren.

Child advocacy centres provide a safe place for children and youth who have experienced abuse. The centres allow clients to tell their stories and access support throughout the entire process of disclosure, investigation, the judicial phase and healing journey.

The centres bring together multi-disciplinary teams to provide a coordinated and child-friendly approach that minimizes trauma, supports healing, and increases the likelihood of offender conviction.

A new funding allocation model will replace the previous system of annual grants, which created uncertainty and inconsistency between centres. A three-year funding cycle will ensure an equitable and sustainable approach, emphasizing government’s continued commitment to supporting the most vulnerable Albertans.

“Child Advocacy Centres show the power of public, private and not-for profit organizations working with caring citizens to support children and families affected by abuse. This new funding model will ensure fairness across the province and give families certainty in accessing the supports they need.”

Rebecca Schulz, Minister of Children’s Services

“We are grateful for the support of the Government of Alberta. Child Advocacy Centres are the result of a strong community response working to end child abuse through collaboration of services and resources. This funding allows us to continue to help children and youth who have experienced abuse efficiently access the services and supports they need, under one roof.”

Allison McCollum, chair, Zebra Child Protection Centre

“This long-term funding model allows us to plan for the future of our centre in a thoughtful way. While we are disappointed to receive less funding than before, we understand the need to ensure equity across the province and we will look to take a leadership role in collecting data and information to inform government decision-making over the next few years.”

Karen Orser, CEO, Calgary Child Advocacy Centre

Government will provide $3.4 million per year for 2020-23 to support child advocacy centres in Edmonton, Calgary, Grande Prairie, Red Deer, Lloydminster and Fort McMurray. Funding has been set aside for centres in Medicine Hat and Lethbridge, should they become operational.

  2019 2022-23
Zebra Child Protection Centre (Edmonton) $712,000 $1,037,050
Calgary and Area Child Advocacy Centre $1,979,000 $1,306,850
Caribou Centre Child Advocacy Centre (Grande Prairie) $150,000 $202,350
Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre (Red Deer) $150,000 $303,530
The Little Bear Child and Youth Advocacy Centre (Lloydminster) $115,530 $126,470
Care Centre for Children and Youth (Fort McMurray) $133,000 $160,200

Total funding amounts will not change, but will be distributed based on the new model, which takes into account previous base funding, the volume of clients served, and the intensity of need based on a community’s child intervention caseload. The three-year grants will also include data collection obligations, allowing for funding based on consistent metrics across the province. The funding allocation model does not affect co-located government staff from Children’s Services and Alberta Health Services.

New funding model reduces red tape

Because grants will no longer have to be renewed each year, the new funding model will reduce the administrative burden on centres and government staff. This is part of government’s ongoing commitment to reducing red tape and making processes more efficient.

Quick facts

  • In 2008, there were 14,403 substantiated cases of child abuse in Alberta.
  • 36 per cent of adults in Alberta have experienced some form of abuse in their youth.
  • Alberta’s Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act requires anyone who believes a child is at risk to report their concern.
  • Albertans should know the signs of abuse and neglect, and report any concerns to the Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-387-KIDS (available in multiple languages, 24 hours a day), or contact a local Children’s Services office, Delegated First Nations Agency, or law enforcement.
  • The funding in each centre will be directed towards multidisciplinary triage, forensic interviews, victim advocacy, court preparation, and service coordination (medical and mental health referrals).

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