The provincial government has announced $1.7-million to help prevent child abuse in Alberta.
And Edmonton will receive $400,000 of that investment over three years.
The announcement was made by Minister of Human Services Irfan Sabir.
Bob Hassel, the CEO of the Zebra Centre here in Edmonton, says that he thinks that’s a fair amount.
“It’s very equitable the way that it’s split up,” said Hassel. “What it does for us, we’re going to be spending a little bit of this on staffing. That will help us with the increase of files that we’ve had in the past year. We’ve truly been doing this for some time, we’re just formalizing it a little bit more than we had in the past.”
Hassel expanded on where that money will be spent, including the hiring of two more employees.
“They’re going to be in a position of what we call family support coordinators,” said Hassel. “I just can’t imagine a mom or dad who found out this happened to their child, what it’s like and what they’re going through. They want some sort of justice, and of course we excel in that area. But, we also excel in protecting that child and helping them as they go through that unfortunate journey.”
Hassel added that they will also be using some of that money on training for staff members.
Unfortunately, Hassel said they’ve seen a sharp increase in the number of cases so far this year.
“In 2015, it was roughly 1,300 children that we supported through our centre,” said Hassel. “That was a 14 percent increase over 2014. (But), a statistic that really stands out, we do our statistics every quarter, from January to end of March we’ve actually seen a 52 percent increase compared to 2015. Which is just astronomical.” (km)