The Name

Local Aboriginal Elder Darlene Cardinal opened the launch of the Centre with a traditional Cree prayer and an explanation of just how the centre got its name.

"Caribou travel in herds and they keep each other together where the young ones are in the centre (with) the elderly and then the warriors and the bulls are on the outside," Cardinal said of the Dene-inspired name.

This practice helps the stronger in the herd protect the more vulnerable, according to Cardinal, something the new facility embodies.

"They work as a community, as a nation and they hold each other and encourage each other," she said. 

In short, the Caribou Child and Youth Centre’s name was chosen to reflect the level of caring and protection that the adult Caribou provide to their young and the weaker members of their heard. The Caribou demonstrates endurance, strength, fortitude and perseverance in going the distance. It also, possesses the power of adaptability in adversity, caution in surroundings and tenacity to get things accomplished. Furthermore, the Caribou will show us how to keep moving onward and flowing with the heard. And most importantly, the Caribou is about movement and finding your inner peace and your place as you walk through life.

Lending Strength

Traditionally, when a child needed to report abuse, they were forced to do so in the same manner as an adult; in an institutionalized setting with adult expectations. The child is expected to go to the police station, surrounded by sometimes scary strangers in the waiting area, then shuffled through the interview process expected to tell their stories a number of times to various players involved in the investigation. One could only imagine this intimidating endeavor for a child who finally mustered the courage to disclose.

Knowing how difficult this process can be several community agencies partnered together to establish a more streamlined and child centered approach to investigation. Now, children are able to utilize the Caribou Child and Youth Centre which uses a multi-disciplinary team. This collaborative approach strives to minimize stress, anxiety, and trauma to the child witness while working to promote safety, protection, and justice.

What is Provided at the Centre

The Caribou Child and Youth Centre house’s a child welcoming venue for RCMP and Child and Family Services to conduct interviews of alleged crimes of abuse against children. It also provides:

  • Audio video recording of the interviews to be used in court proceedings.
  • Crisis intervention, support and counselling to child victims of crime and non –offending family members.
  • Supervision of the children in child friendly waiting areas
  • Ongoing support to the non-offending family members.
  • Court preparation, accompaniment and support throughout the court process.
  • Therapists to provide counselling to the children upon completion of the statement.
  • Advocacy and referrals on behalf of the child victims of abuse.

The Centre offers a safe and comfortable environment for children to go through the investigative process. We help to simplify this process and decrease some of the stress associated with reports of child abuse. We advocate for the child within the criminal justice system and help find supports within our community. We believe in trying to attain “best practice” standards while being child centered, with our focus on helping children and families move forward in the most advantageous way.


Dogs with Wings celebrates 2019 graduates

It's graduation season and this one's gone to the dogs.

The 2019 Dogs with Wings graduating class of 10 was celebrated Sunday with a commencement ceremony at the Chateau Louis Conference Centre.

The ceremony is an annual tradition for the organization, which has been training service dogs since 1996. 


Caribou Centre expecting therapy dog

The Caribou Centre in Grande Prairie will be getting a therapy dog. The centre works with children and youth who are the victims of some sort of crime or abuse, and Very Special Paws focuses on training therapy dogs to work in the justice system.