The Alberta government is investing $5M to create three best practice sites in the province to provide vulnerable children and families better access to mental health supports and specialists.

The province recently held a two-day roundtable discussion on best practices in the child intervention system and how to strike the right balance between transparency and privacy.

The forum included experts, policy makers, aboriginal representatives and people with experience in the child intervention system.

The new funding will be used to:

  • Introduce three best practice sites in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer to provide increased mental health services to children and youth
  • Provide children and youth in care who have experienced physical abuse, sexual abuse and/or neglect with better access to mental health specialists
  • Provide child intervention staff with instant access to expert clinical/medical consultation that will help them better understand available psychiatric treatment plans and appropriate medications
  • Provide crisis mental health supports for high-needs children and offer effective strategies to help foster parents and other caregivers
  • Develop a cross-ministry mental health action plan that will enhance and sustain a high-level of supports for children involved with child intervention and expand the reach to support all children and families with mental health needs in Alberta

“Children and youth who have been abused and or neglected are often very affected by the trauma they have endured. This funding will allow us to do a better job of addressing the mental health concerns of children and youth who are receiving intervention services. This announcement is an initial step in our promise to address root causes and will put more mental health supports where they are needed,” said Manmeet S. Bhullar, Minister of Human Services.

“Making sure that Alberta children, including those receiving intervention services and their families are supported is critical to the future health of our province. By investing in their mental health, we are building a healthier, more productive and more rewarding future for these children, their families, and all of us,” said Fred Horne, Minister of Health .

Alberta Health says one in five people will experience a mental illness and that 80 percent of mental illnesses begin in childhood.