Calgary & Area Child Advocacy Centre

We are a physical site where more than 115 professionals from partner organizations help children, youth, and families impacted by child abuse and neglect through an integrated practice model. This model allows services to be delivered in a more efficient and effective child-focused manner.


  • provide collaborative leadership with its partners to achieve a common vision
  • support integrated practice by leading the establishment of protocols, standards, and guidelines, and by delivering a range of frontline services
  • provide training opportunities to improve and build on the expertise of staff working in the Centre
  • promote community awareness, advocacy, and education of the importance of addressing child abuse and early childhood trauma, and informing the policy agenda of government
  • implement research and evaluation initiatives to understand an inform the impacts of trauma and what interventions are most effective.

Our key accomplishments to date:

  • 7,510 infants, children and youth have been assessed and supported in our first five years
  • 14,253 children and youth have visited the Child Life Space since we opened our doors
  • Decrease in therapy services waitlist
  • Medical exams are shorter, with 90% of children and youth interviewed only once
  • Collecting and sharing information is much more efficient and effective, with critical case information shared within minutes instead of weeks

The power of the Calgary & Area Child Advocacy Centre is unleashed through integrated services, the right support at the right time – that reduce the long-term impact of trauma and enable children, youth and families to recover to lead healthy, productive lives.

The Calgary & Area Child Advocacy Centre offers wrap-around services and a child-focused model of care to support children, youth, and families impacted by the most severe and complex cases of sexual and physical abuse and neglect. Some of our programs include:


The Victim Support program is designed to walk alongside families in their road to recovery by providing support, information and referrals and help families cope with the impact of abuse. Services can be provided to children and families for as long as they are needed.

Children, youth and their families who visit the Centre are met by a Victim Support Specialist who will:

  • Liaise with other victim services to make support more accessible and available
  • Provide support, information and resources to children, youth and families
  • Be a consistent and continual support and follow up with them throughout their entire process through the CAC (first entry, investigation, medical, court and after)
  • Ensure families have an accurate understanding of the different components of the process at the Centre and that they know how to navigate the entire process


The Child Life Program is a unique program and the only one of its kind in Canada in a CAC. The primary outcomes of the Child Life Program include intervening with children and youth to minimize stress and re-traumatization and maximizing coping as they receive medical, therapeutic, and investigative services related to child abuse.

The Child Life Specialist is the first contact a child has at the Centre. They will spend time with the children and families who receive services. The Child Life Specialist ensures they are well informed about what to expect, provides developmentally appropriate interventions to reduce anxiety, and makes certain that the environment and interventions are child-centered at all times. The Child Life Program has resulted in decreased anxiety among children, leading to shorter medical child abuse examinations and increased disclosures in just one interview in 90% of the cases.

Previously, children and youth waited in the emergency department or were referred to family physicians when child abuse was suspected, only to be redirected to the Child Abuse Medical Team. Direct referrals to the Child Abuse Medical Team now save the family time, decreases stress and increases capacity for the Emergency Department to serve other patients.


The Child Life Program partners with PALS, providing an opportunity for children to play with and be comforted by canine volunteers when they are at the Centre as well as with our resident dogs Axel and Webster.

The BFF Program complements the multidisciplinary team in supporting wrap-around services provided to children and youth who experience serious instances of abuse.

  • Webster and Axel participate in forensic interviews with children. These highly trained dogs can empower children and youth to share their story by providing a non-judgmental and safe environment.
  • Webster and Axel will walk alongside the children, youth and families throughout the court process, one that can instill fear in children. This can inhibit a child’s ability to testify against their abusers and can have a negative impact on the ability to prosecute accused persons. The presence of one of the dogs alleviates this fear.
  • Part of the BFF Program also involves a dog being present during a child’s medical exam. Webster can climb up onto the check-up bed to learn about the medical exam and have their heartbeat carefully checked over by a child.


POST is a collaborative partnership between Calgary & Area Child Advocacy Centre, Alberta Health Services and the Calgary Police Service to identify and provide specialized intervention and referral services to vulnerable pregnant persons in high risk situations. The POST team are assessing, educating, intervening with and referring persons who are vulnerable and pregnant to support better outcomes for them and their infants.

From November 1, 2013 to January 31, 2016 (27 months) over 580 vulnerable pregnant women were referred to and assessed by the Prenatal Outreach and Support Team, which currently receives 45 referrals per month.


AVIRT is a multidisciplinary team that provides an immediate response to maximize safety for infants from birth to three months who are at risk for child abuse or neglect. From April 1, 2013 to December 31, 2017, the Alberta Vulnerable Infant Response Team assessed 2,140 cases where infants in this age range were identified at risk for child abuse or neglect in the Calgary region. The busiest month in 2017 was July with 50 new cases.


Calgary & Area Child Advocacy Centre has partnered with eight school divisions in and around Calgary to develop youth leadership and advocacy skills related to child abuse, resiliency and healthy relationships. Our Youth Engagement and Education Program provides opportunities for students and teachers to learn more about child abuse and its impact and to explore these issues within a safe environment. The youth who participate in this initiative demonstrate leadership by embracing healthy relationships, promoting awareness of trauma and its impact and advocating for safe, supportive school-community environments. Through this program we develop leading practices for collaboration between school divisions and Child Advocacy Centres. Resources developed, strategies employed and outcomes achieved will be available to Alberta Education, Child Advocacy Centres and school divisions across the province.We are always looking for smart, kind, engaging volunteers to help at the Calgary & Area Child Advocacy Centre. Our website has details on each of the opportunities.


Over the last five years, the Calgary & Area Child Advocacy Centre in collaboration with our partners, governments, and community, have demonstrated how commitment to a shared vision can transform how child abuse is understood and addressed by entire systems. This perseverance and dedication is knocking down barriers, resulting in ground-breaking practices, research and evaluation, fearless innovation and new ways of working together.

But with all of our efforts, there is still much to be done, and child abuse is still an issue that demands our attention. Every day, there are more and more cases of abuse that should never happen.

With your generous help, the Calgary & Area Child Advocacy Centre will:

  • Prevent kids falling through the cracks
  • Assist children in becoming healthier and safer
  • Reduce recurrence of child abuse
  • Relieve stress on the systems
  • Help kids be kids

There are a number of ways in which you can make a donation to Calgary & Area Child Advocacy Centre:

  • General donation
  • Support a specific program
  • Recognize someone special: make a gift to Calgary & Area Child Advocacy Centre in honour of someone celebrating a birthday, anniversary or significant milestone in their life. We will send them a letter acknowledging your gift in honour of them. You may also choose to make a donation in memory of a friend or loved one.
  • A legacy gift in your will provides sustainable funds to our programs
  • Donate shares

For all donations of $25 and above, we will provide a charitable tax receipt. Our Charitable Business Number is 82679 3283 RR0001.

Are you a Calgary Foundation Fundholder?

Contact Info

Communications Specialist

Stephanie Gough


More Info

Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre

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