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December 15, 2006 permalink
Here is another article about a children's aid society overspending its budget. That puts the province in the position of covering the deficit or allowing foster children to starve. The province always comes up with the money. Sadly, CAS has to intervene in more families to justify the higher budget.
In the article notice the "$800,000 to build new offices, mostly for supervisors, to provide more private space to deal with cases". Sorry, supervisors do not deal with cases, that is for caseworkers. Supervisors are the ones with the SUV's and Caribbean vacations.
CAS faces $3.5M budget deficit
Second consecutive shortfall blamed on hiring additional staff, office construction costs
The Windsor-Essex Children's Aid Society is facing a $3.5-million deficit this fiscal year largely as a result of increased hiring to help reduce workers' caseloads, the agency's executive director said Thursday.
"It's not uncommon in child welfare to have a deficit," Bill Bevan said. "Historically, we were one of the agencies that often was quite balanced when the rest of the field was in deficits."
It marks the second deficit in a row. Last year's shortfall was $3.3-million.
"Historically we've had some higher caseloads for our staff," Bevan said. "They really wanted to see that change. So we've answered the bell on that."
Bevan said that over the last two years the CAS created 22 new positions, mostly in the recently developed Family Well-being Program -- which cost $1.1 million to start and which is designed to help keep more children with their families. The society also spent $800,000 to build new offices, mostly for supervisors, to provide more private space to deal with cases.
The idea, Bevan said, is to have more workers helping families so that the number of children in care drops -- which in the long run reduces lodging and legal costs, among other expenses.
"We feel we'll spend less and can work toward having a balanced budget again," Bevan said. "But we'll need to work with the government and get this year's fiscal dollars covered."
Bevan said another issue is the amount of funding his agency has received, which he thinks could be higher. He says his agency spends the provincial average, given the caseload and the 400 full- and part-time workers employed there. The current budget of $48.5 million will, however, end up being about $52 million.
In 2004 and 2005, the local Children's Aid Society had an average of more than 800 children in care. Bevan said that by the end of the year, it is expected to average 727.
"We have a 10 per cent reduction happening with our kids in care over the last two years," Bevan said. "So it's fantastic."
Anne Machowski, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, said the government will continue monitoring all budget overruns but does not see a need for any special review in Windsor.
"While we recognize that some CAS's have spent above their funding model eligibility in past years, the ministry has resolved those deficits," Machowski said. "These are difficult decisions based in large part on our desire to ensure continuity of service to children who require care and protection."
The ministry will spend more than $1.3 billion this fiscal year, which ends in March. Last year, it provided $63 million extra to cover deficits across the province. The government allows certain deficits if Children's Aid societies do such things as increase the number of adoptions, increase the use of family-based care and implement mediation and alternative dispute resolution.
Source: Windsor Star