GIVE'R FEATURE: Zebra Child Protection Centre
You voted Bikergang! Give a warm welcome to our new GIVE’R charity for the first quarter of 2019, The Zebra Child Protection Centre. We sat down with a representative from the organization to ask them a few questions.
What is The Zebra Child Protection Centre?
The Zebra Child Protection Centre is a registered charity in Edmonton that supports children and youth who have experienced abuse. The Zebra Centre brings together a community of professionals to provide a continuum of support for children and youth throughout the entire disclosure, investigative, judicial, and healing process. Our multi-disciplinary team consists of: Edmonton Police Service, RCMP, Alberta Health Services (Mental Health navigator and Psychologist), Child and Family Services, Child at Risk Response Team (CARRT), and Zebra Centre staff and volunteers. Off-site partners include Alberta Crown Prosecution Services, Alberta Education, Alberta Health, Alberta Justice and Solicitor General, and the Child and Adolescent Protection Centre.
How did it come to be?
The idea for the Zebra Centre originally came from a couple of police officers who directly saw the need for a new system in terms of a response to child abuse. Before the Zebra Centre, children would have to disclose upwards of 10 times, to various people, in various places that were far from child-friendly. Children would have to go to a police station and disclose in a sterile, uncomfortable and intimidating interview room. That room is the same room used to interview offenders and criminals. It was no place for a child to be. With this in mind, the police officers, in collaboration with business and community leaders, looked at Child Advocacy Centre's that were currently operating in the United States. They then began the process of implementing a Child Advocacy Centre here in Edmonton, which is now known as the Zebra Child Protection Centre. The Zebra Centre officially opened in 2002 and was the first Child Advocacy Centre of its kind in Canada.
Who do your services and programs cater towards?
Our services and programs cater to any child or youth who has been impacted by abuse. We offer several resources and supports and continue to do so well after any court proceedings. When a child or youth comes to the Zebra Centre, we are there to continually support them until they no longer wish to receive these supports. In 2018, we supported 1,825 children and youth (71% female, 29% male), and 1,683 caregivers. We offer an extensive amount of services such as court accompaniment, child advocates, 24-hour crisis response team, care calls, counselling and trauma support, court preparation, forensic interviews, backpack home program, Hope's toy closet, and the VIP (Very Important Paws program). More detail on the support services we offer can be found on our website - www.zebracentre.ca
What impact do your contributions make on the community?
Children and youth come to the centre during what is understandably a very difficult time. We work together as a team to help these children and youth through their journey. We want them to know that we hear them, we believe them, and that they will get through this. By offering this positive and comforting atmosphere, in combination with highly skilled professionals, and a comprehensive support/resource system in place, we can support children through the disclosure, investigative, judicial, and healing process. Through these efforts, we strive to provide vital support to children and youth who have been impacted by abuse, educate the public on awareness and prevention, and increase conviction rates of child abuse offenders. Our vision is to have a community where every child is heard and respected and where child abuse is not tolerated. The Zebra Centre is always ensuring we stay current in terms of supports, resources, and experts so that we can provide custom supports for children and families based on individual needs. Just recently, we acquired an on-site psychologist and mental health navigator.
From 2017 to 2018, we saw an increase of 13% more children supported, and 38% increase of caregivers supported. Surveys completed after being supported by the Zebra Centre indicated that 98% of caregivers felt their children were safe at the Zebra Centre, and 95% of caregivers felt they were provided with the resources to support and respond to their child’s needs. It is clear to see that the Zebra Child Protection Centre makes a positive and impactful contribution to the community.
What's an interesting fact that not many people would know about the organization?
The Zebra Child Protection Centre was the first Child Advocacy Centre of its kind in Canada.
When danger appears in the wild, zebras form a protective circle around their young. Because of their stripes, predators are unable to tell where one zebra ends and another begins. Our multidisciplinary team works the same way, which is why we chose the name "Zebra Child Protection Centre".
What are the organization's short-term goals?
Creating a community where child abuse is not tolerated.
Increase awareness and education on recognizing signs of child abuse.
Increase public awareness of the duty to report child abuse and/or suspicions of child abuse.
How can others get involved and help?
There are many ways to get involved and become a member of our herd! We have several opportunities to volunteer - whether it is as a court accompaniment, child advocate, on the events team, or completing research or administrative tasks. Help is always welcome. If you don't have the time to spare, donations are always greatly appreciated. You can either donate on our website or host a fundraiser on our behalf! We are always willing to work with you to support your fundraising efforts the best we can. We truly could not continue to do what we do without the generous support of our community. For more information on how you can get involved and support the Zebra Centre, please call us at 780-421-2385 and visit https://www.zebracentre.ca/get-involved/.