The Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre (CACAC) has officially launched into a public campaign for their building project 'the Centre of Excellence'. The 66,566 sq. ft. structure will be the new home of the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre, Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre, and Alberta Health Services: Red Deer Child and Youth Addiction and Mental Health Outpatient Clinic; Move your Mood Studio; and the Step Up Step Down youth live-in addiction and mental health program.

Mark Jones, CEO of the CACAC, says they need to raise $12M in order to cover the costs of the building. Of that $12M, they have already privately raised $8.1M. They’re appealing to the public to help them raise the remaining $3.9M.

“The business plan for this Centre makes a lot of sense for the community. Through 1st-tier tenancy agreements, and full integration with our partners, this project will be very sustainable. But more than anything else, this building project represents hope for these children. This one-of-a-kind centre is going to change the way society responds to child abuse, mental health, and addiction. These children and youths are at the core of everything we do. This public campaign is your way to take an even bigger stand against child abuse.” said Mark Jones, CEO CACAC

The building, constructed by Eagle Builders and located on the Red Deer Polytechnic main campus, aims to be open by the end of August 2023. The 3-story structure is being built with intentional common and shared spaces to better integrate crucial partnerships, and create an environment in which children, youths, and families feel comfortable and safe. The contemporary design of the exterior is meant to be inviting for the children and youths who will use the space, while also symbolizing the integrated partnerships at work within the building and on campus.

“Eagle Builders cares about the protection and care of children and families in Central Alberta, which is why we were so pleased to be part of the construction of the Centre of Excellence and Child Advocacy Centre, “ said Dennis Haan, Director and President at Eagle Builders LP. “Once complete, this building will provide the very best in care for those that need it most - when they need it most. For us, this project is more than just putting up walls, it is an investment into the future of this province and a commitment to improving the lives of all Albertans.”

Terry Loewen, Chairman of the Board of the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre, notes that the CACAC addresses many of the mental health concerns faced by youth and families in Central Alberta. 

”The CACAC is a transformational community project that rallies people to a common cause; that being mental health! Mental health has been something that never used to be talked about, and now it’s at the forefront of many discussions everyday. The CACAC has all the elements, and then some, in the area of mental health and is a game changer, not only for Central Alberta, but far beyond!” said Terry Loewen, Board Chair, CACAC. 

Originally the vision of Sheldon Kennedy, the Centre of Excellence brings partners together for a fully integrated approach to addressing abuse. Additional research and programming will be introduced through Red Deer Polytechnic. The land was gifted to the CACAC by Red Deer Polytechnic as part of a strategic partnership that allows RDP to integrate the CACAC’s practices into its own research.

“Red Deer Polytechnic is excited to be partnering with the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre. Housing this newly constructed Centre of Excellence on our main campus will ensure that Red Deer Polytechnic is actively collaborating with the CACAC and helping to advance best practices related to childhood trauma and maltreatment. The Centre will have a profound impact on youth and families in our community and across North America will also provide critical applied research and learning opportunities for Red Deer Polytechnic’s faculty, staff and students.” said Stuart Cullum, President of Red Deer Polytechnic. 

“So now we’re asking for your help. We’ve been meeting with donors and supporters, and we’ve been doing the work behind the scenes to bring this much-needed Centre to Central Alberta. We know the need is there, and that the need is growing. We’re building a path forward for these children and their families. We’ve brought together key partners, and we’re poised to meet the challenges head on. Now we’re asking your financial support, not just for us, but for a brighter future for these children. We’re ready to build the future… are you in?” said Mark Jones, CEO CACAC.