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Alberta

Province to spend $92 million over next three years to provide mental health treatment for youth

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Expanding mental health treatment for youth

Alberta’s government is partnering with CASA Mental Health to expand youth mental health supports to ensure youth across Alberta can access treatment closer to home.

Supporting children and youth who are struggling with mental health is an essential part of Alberta’s recovery-oriented system of mental health and addiction care. If passed, Budget 2023 would invest $92 million over three years to provide critical mental health supports for children and youth in partnerships with CASA Mental Health.

This $92-million investment would include capital and operating funding for two new inpatient CASA House sites in Fort McMurray and Calgary, expanding youth day treatment programs provincially, and the rollout of new mental health classrooms across Alberta.

“Every young person in Alberta deserves the opportunity to access treatment and improve their mental health. If passed, Budget 2023 will dramatically increase access to mental health supports for youth to help families in crisis and provide kids with opportunities to improve their mental health across Alberta.”

Danielle Smith, Premier

“Our goal is to ensure that every young person in Alberta is supported in their pursuit of improved mental health. In partnership with CASA Mental Health, we’re expanding a range of treatment options for youth and their families that includes mental health supports in schools, day treatment programs and new inpatient programs to meet the diverse needs of youth in Alberta.”

Nicholas Milliken, Minister of Mental Health and Addiction

Supporting young Albertans with mental health challenges

With this funding, high-intensity services for children and youth will be delivered in community settings, reducing the need for hospital stays. CASA Mental Health will expand four programs that will help more than 700 additional young Albertans every year.

  • CASA House (for youth in grades 7 to 12): A live-in program for youth where parents and caregivers are still active participants in treatment, but the youth lives at a CASA facility. Treatment includes individual, group and family therapy, social and life skills training, and on-site schooling in small classroom settings.
  • Adolescent Day Treatment Program (for youth in grades 8 to 12): A daily program where youth with a mental illness diagnosis who are struggling in a conventional classroom setting can complete their schooling at a CASA facility while receiving ongoing support, including group, family and individual therapy.
  • CASA Mental Health Classrooms (for children and youth in grades 4 to 12): A classroom-based program where students with complex mental health needs receive individual and group therapy. Students are supported by a team of mental health professionals, including a therapist, psychiatrist and behavioural specialist.
  • CASA Core (for children and youth aged three to 17): Community-based services where families are matched with the appropriate level of service dependent on the complexity of mental health challenges. Therapy incorporates the child’s family, school and community network in treatment.

“CASA Mental Health recognizes a need for increased service to the ‘missing middle’ of mental health, particularly over the last few years. We see a growing need to provide specialized service to children and youth with mental illness, requiring more than low-intensity community-based services, but less than intensive hospital services. We’re pleased to partner with Alberta’s government to help close that gap and make mental health programming available and accessible to more children and families throughout the province.”

Bonnie Blakley, chief executive officer, CASA Mental Health

Alberta’s government is continuing to build a recovery-oriented system of care, where everyone struggling with addiction and mental health challenges is supported in their pursuit of recovery. This includes dramatically increasing access to mental health supports for children and youth focused on prevention and early intervention, including the creation of new mental health classrooms, expanding access to digital supports like 211 Alberta and Kids Help Phone, investing in affordable virtual and in-person counselling, and establishing youth mental health hubs across the province.

“CASA Mental Health is a leader in delivering youth-centred mental health services. This organization plays an important role in the Sherwood Park community, and this new partnership with Alberta’s government will help broaden their reach to support children and youth across our province.”

Jordan Walker, MLA for Sherwood Park

“Children in this province deserve the best care possible, and this funding reflects our government’s commitment to delivering on this promise. I’ve seen first-hand the difference CASA Mental Health makes in the lives of youth in our community, and expanding these services means more families will get the help they need and deserve.”

Nate Glubish, MLA for Strathcona-Sherwood Park

Budget 2023 secures Alberta’s bright future by transforming the health-care system to meet people’s needs, supporting Albertans with the high cost of living, keeping our communities safe and driving the economy with more jobs, quality education and continued diversification.

This is a news release from the Government of Alberta.

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Alberta

Youth worker charged with child luring

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From the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT)

A youth worker has been arrested and charged with child sexual exploitation offences. ALERT is investigating the possibility of additional victims.

ALERT’s Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) unit arrested the 28-year-old suspect on February 2, 2024 with help from the Edmonton Police Service. Abraham Woo was charged with child luring, making child pornography, possession of child pornography, and distributing child pornography.

Woo has also been known to use the aliases Abraham Calling Bear WooAbraham Collingwood, and his Snapchat handle WolfBoy22.

ICE alleges that Woo was involved in luring of at least one child whom he had known previously though his youth work with Pasqua First Nations in southern Saskatchewan. These alleged offences took place over the social media applications Snapchat and Facebook.

The offences were first reported to Saskatchewan ICE in January 2024, and associated to an investigation by Fort Qu’Appelle Saskatchewan RCMP.

ICE’s investigation, which included a forensic examination of computers and electronic devices seized from Woo’s home, has led ICE to believe there may be additional victims. Amongst child sexual abuse materials, ICE identified photos that appear to have been taken in a locker room facility.

ICE is releasing a censored version of these photos in hopes of identifying the location and/or possible child victim.

Woo has worked as a youth worker or had access to children through his employment in both Saskatchewan and Alberta.  ICE believes that Woo worked with children at the following organizations/entities:

  • Pasqua First Nations Education: youth worker and education assistant;
  • Edmonton Bent Arrow Society: lodge keeper;
  • Shadow Dragon Youth Group Home: group home staff member;
  • Leduc Boys and Girls Club: youth programs coordinator; and
  • Pa Metawe Games: youth camps.

Anyone with information about this offence is asked to contact their local police, or Crime Stoppers at 1-888-222-TIPS (8477).

Woo has released from custody and is scheduled to appear in court on February 28, 2024.

ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime.

 

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Alberta

Premier Smith announces plan to boost Alberta’s Heritage Fund to at least 250 Billion by 2050

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From CPAC on YouTube

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith delivers state-of-the-province address

In a televised address from Edmonton, Danielle Smith, the premier of Alberta, delivers an update on her government’s vision and legislative priorities.

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