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October 4, 2009 permalink
According to Kingston CAS executive director Raymond Muldoon, 36 of 53 CAS agencies across Ontario have appealed their budget allocations to Children and Youth Services Minister Deb Matthews. His budget reduction is small, just two percent. The most revealing quote from today's article is: "the more efficient an agency is, the less money the government figures it needs". We have been pointing out for years that the methods of bureaucratic funding reward the most anti-social activity by agencies. That is why they need, as an interim solution, oversight, and as a permanent solution, abolition of the use of appropriated funds for the upkeep of children.
Status quo — for now, Children's Aid Society director says
Posted By MIKE NORRIS, Posted October 3, 2009
A 2% reduction in its operating budget for this year won't have any impact on services provided by the Frontenac Children's Aid Society.
The same can't be said if the agency continues to receive insufficient funding in future budgets, said executive director Ray Muldoon.
"Right now, the kids are not impacted," he said yesterday. "We won't reduce services, but I can't promise you it won't happen in the future.
"Long term, services to kids will be compromised.
"It's too early to speculate (on the impact), but we'll discuss that with the ministry."
Staff will not be affected, he said.
"So far, no. We can't reduce staffing and meet our mandate."
Although the agency faces a $1.5-million deficit by March 2010, Muldoon says the local Children's Aid Society has a mandate to meet.
"We don't have a choice between accepting and refusing child referral cases," he said.
"If a child is in trouble, we have to respond. We can't turn away children to save money. That would be irresponsible."
Provincial funding has been a sore point with many children's aid societies across Ontario in recent years.
The local agency requested a budget of $20.9 million for 2009-10, a 1% increase over the previous year; it was allocated a little more than $20 million, a 2% cut.
"The funding formula the ministry employs is a cookie-cutter approach," said Muldoon. "It doesn't look at local agencies [as separate entities]."
It appears that the more efficient an agency is, the less money the government figures it needs.
"We've saved this office and the taxpayers a lot of money," said Muldoon. "We've driven costs down and become more efficient in terms of delivering services.
"But when you do it, you get less base funding. The better you do, the less funding you get."
The agency has cut expenses in travel and accommodation, internal operations and infrastructure.
Muldoon said that among six other CAS agencies in cities comparable to Kingston in population and number of cases, Kingston was the most cost efficient.
"We're also one of the lowest-funded (CAS) agencies per capita in the province," he said.
The almost $900,000 shortfall comes on top of a $600,000 deficit. The province, however, doesn't take a hard line on CAS agencies like it does on hospitals or school boards that operate in the red.
"To their credit, the government has recognized annually these deficits but continues to fund CAS agencies to provide services despite the deficit," said Muldoon.
Muldoon said 36 of 53 CAS agencies across Ontario have appealed their budget allocations to Children and Youth Services Minister Deb Matthews. The FCAS is among those filing an appeal.
An appeal panel will meet with each agency's board of directors, after which the panel can make changes to the funding.
Muldoon said the Ontario auditor general made it clear in 2007 that CAS funding needed to be examined and "nothing has substantially changed."
"The ministry needs to examine its funding formula and needs to realize it's not adequate," said Muldoon. "It needs to re-commit."
The funding issue will not affect the construction of the agency's new home at Division and Kirkpatrick streets because those costs come out of a capital budget. The new building is scheduled to open by June 2011.
There are several commenta posted by social workers. Here is one from a parent:
Post #2 By joejoe
Funding isn't the issue. Management is the biggest problem at the CAS. They treat their clients and ward children as a business. They are human beings with very sensitive issues, so stop treating them like $hit, fire the management that constantly violates parents rights. Stop lying to parents who comply with supervised access visits when you damn well know that they will NEVER get their kids back. The CAS in Kingston is one of the most corrupt government agencies and deserve nothing more than for Minister Deb Matthews to clean house starting with Ray Muldoon. Once you get rid of the garbage then start funding — otherwise the money is for nothing.
Source: Kingston Whig-Standard