Zebra Centre gets $1.2-million boost to support abused children
Funding will be used for improved mental health services
An Edmonton-based centre that helps children who have suffered physical or sexual abuse is getting a $1.2-million boost through a three-year grant.
Alberta Health Services announced the cash infusion to the Zebra Child Protection Centre on Monday.
"When children and families come to this place, the Zebra Centre, for help, they're in the midst of extremely difficult, traumatic situations," said Health Minister Sarah Hoffman.
"The pathway to getting connected with counselling, therapy and treatment, far too often, is difficult to manoeuvre. The increased support we're announcing today will help children and families navigate the health-care system."
'Get them in faster'
The Zebra Centre offers counselling services, co-ordinates with police, and supports children and youth as a case moves through the court system.
The funding will be used, in part, to hire a psychologist who will lead a new trauma treatment service. It's expected more counsellors will also be hired as the service is established. Those staff will be there to help children and families access services more quickly.
"The big thing is cutting through some of the time that typically referrals would take," said child and family psychologist Dr. Marcy Gordeyko, who will head the new team.
Families often wait to see a professional at one site to fill out a referral, and for another professional at another site to pick up that referral, she said.
The new service will allow the centre to "get them in faster."
She said counselling will not only help those who have experienced abuse but also family members who support them.
The Zebra Centre supported about 1,600 children and youth in 2017.