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.

When a child or youth discloses abuse, or you suspect that something may have happened to a child, use the following guide to help you…

Making a Report is the First Step

The information provided by the caller will be assessed to determine if further investigation is required.

Only the RCMP or Child Family Services can make a referral to the Caribou Centre.

In Alberta - Under the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act any person who has "reasonable and probable grounds" to believe that a child is being harmed, has an obligation to report it to the proper authorities.

In Grande Prairie:   To report, call Child and Family Services Authority at 780-538-5102, or the RCMP at 780-830-5701

A list of community resources to assist you with questions you may have, or provide the support you may require.

To report online situations where children or young people are being sexually abused or exploited, contact the Cybertip.ca tip line. Canada’s national tip line receives information from the public about child pornography, luring, child sex tourism and child prostitution.
Cybertip also provides information, referrals, and other resources to help Canadians keep their children safe while on the Internet.


How might a child or youth victims be affected?
Being victimized can shatter a young person’s view of the world as a safe place. Children and youth may be affected by crime in many ways, emotionally and physically.
At different development stages, children may express their emotions differently.
Responses may include: withdrawing, having stomach aches, sleep disruptions, being more clingy, or exhibiting anxiety and depression. They might deny there is anything wrong. You may also see changes in their behaviors, and “acting out” when they find it hard to express their feelings.

Parents and family can also be affected by a crime
It is important that families get the support they need. If you are affected by a crime, even if not directly, you can access the support of the Caribou Child & Youth Centre.
Parents, caregivers, and other family members can also experience significant emotions. These can include ANGER, shock, disbelief, shame, blame and fear of further harm. Siblings might be confused or become overprotective.

How can you support a child who has been a victim of a crime?
Parents and caregivers can be a great source of support to their child after a crime.
• Assure your child that he or she did the right thing in telling someone.
• React calmly.
• Let your child know that you are there to listen.
• Reassure your child that what happened is not his or her fault.
• Accept that your child may “act out” but set limits.
• Understand your own feelings and take care of yourself.
• Discuss with your child any steps to take.
• Watch for signs that your child needs additional support or help.
• The journey may be long - Seek supports for your child and yourself.