Shovels are in the ground for the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre’s (CACAC) Centre of Excellence as of yesterday. With the building officially underway, CACAC and its dedicated Partners can continue their efforts in creating a safer, healthier future for the children of Central Alberta. 

“It is a historic day today for not only the CACAC, but for those who have supported us along the way, and for our entire community. But before we celebrate this momentous milestone in our journey, we must first acknowledge this day. June 21st is National Indigenous People’s Day – and it is important to our organization that we acknowledge the significance of today as we break- ground on Treaty 7 land, the traditional and ancestral territory of the Blackfoot, Tsuu T’ina and Stoney Nakoda peoples. We also recognize the impacts of colonialism on Indigenous peoples, while celebrating the resiliency and strength of Indigenous populations through history. Thank you to Lloyd Desjarlais from Red Deer Polytechnic for leading us through conversations and ensuring we respectfully recognize those impacted. It is with great honor that on such an important day, we are able to build our path to supporting all those impacted by child abuse and mental health,” said Mark Jones, CACAC CEO. 

The new build is underway as of today, with construction beginning immediately. The projected 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; and the Step Up Step Down youth live-in addiction and mental health program. 

“Alberta Health Services is grateful for the CACAC project. This collaboration will offer many services under one roof for youth experiencing trauma, substance use disorder and mental health concerns. Front line teams can consult seamlessly and develop relationships that simply would not exist outside the shared space of the CACAC. The ability to offer multidisciplinary care will support positive outcomes for youth and families and a shared vision for the community,” says Amy Klimosko, Director, AHS Red Deer Child, Youth, & Family Addiction & Mental Health. 

The Centre of Excellence, a one-of-a-kind building in Canada, is an industry leading, evidence- based model strategically located on the Red Deer Polytechnic (RDP) Campus – built to strengthen integration for all partners involved. This is a proven model to reduce long-term impacts of abuse on children, youth and families, cut back on systemic costs of child abuse and, ultimately, save more lives. The location creates not only a safe place for children and families in Central Alberta to seek and receive support, but a place of innovation and research – to not only aid in the intervention of child abuse and mental health, but for prevention of these societal issues. Education is a key factor in the role of child abuse prevention, and the RDP partnership is a main component to building this foundation. 

Sketch of building.

“On behalf of everyone at Red Deer Polytechnic, I am pleased to welcome the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre to our beautiful campus overlooking the forest reserve and next to the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre,” says Jim Brinkhurst, Interim President. “We look forward to this collaboration that will serve Central Albertans and present tremendous learning and applied research opportunities for students and staff for years to come.” 

The building, constructed by Eagle Builders, is projected to be completed by Summer 2023. The 3- story, contemporary design, will be built with intentional common and shared spaces to cultivate collaboration between allied partners, and create an environment that children, youths and families feel comfortable and safe in. 

“Today has been a shared vision since day one by our coalition, and I am beyond grateful that, because of our community, we are able to stand here and break-ground on this critical building. We look forward to sharing space with our integrated partners who share the same purpose: helping our children and our families. Thank you to all who have helped us pave our path towards our new home,” added Jones.