How it works

Because no one agency or profession alone is fully equipped to prioritize the well being of an abused child. Collaborative efforts of several organizations yield the best results.

Discovering the truth behind suspicion and allegations of child abuse is time consuming and very complex. Balancing the needs of the child as well as the needs of the justice system requires special skills and knowledge, as well as sensitivity. The Caribou Centre’s collaborative approach lends strength to the child during the investigation process and law enforcement and the justice system. Using a multi disciplinary team is considered to be a cornerstone of Best Practices for children’s centre worldwide.

Caribou Centre’s members include law enforcement, Child and Family Services, prosecutors, Alberta Health Service, PACE and child advocates. This core team remains consistent throughout most investigations. Connecting the insights of these agencies brings a mass of support and protection to our children. Each agency has its own mandate and set of responsibilities, there is always someone to ensure that the needs of the child are met.

The investigation usually begins with a forensic interview at the Caribou Centre. The multi- disciplinary team members can observe the interview from a separate room as it occurs or afterwards on a CD or DVD. The end result is that the child is subject to fewer strangers, less interviews and less times of having to tell their story. A prosecutor contributes their expertise and represents the justice system. This has been a contributing factor to higher than average conviction rates for child abusers.

Having numerous agencies working together in partnership also benefits the child and family by minimizing travel to different locations to participate in the investigation. Support services can be accessed quicker and the journey to healing can begin faster.

Although we are learning constantly and growing through our interactions within the team, we believe that as a community we learn the most from listening to our children and responding to their needs first. A child’s need for safety and security, support and understanding is our driving force. Nurturing our children, our future generation, is what it is all about.