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Budget Cuts Negated
November 4, 2009 permalink
Simcoe County Children's Aid is to get another million dollars in supplemental money. It is impossible to tell from the story, but it sounds like the kind of money that covers overspending. In the past when a children's aid society has overspent its budget, the ministry did not have the management arrested for stealing the taxpayer's money, instead just gave them a supplemental appropriation to bring their bank balance up to zero. Today's story seems to mean that the ministry is backing down on recently announced budget cuts for children's aid, and high levels of baby snatching will continue.
Cash to relieve deficit of CAS
SOCIAL WELFARE, Posted By RAYMOND BOWE, Posted November 4, 2009
The Simcoe County Children's Aid Society has received a cash injection from the province that CAS officials say should ease the financial crisis ... for now.
The CAS has received $1 million, which will get them into the new year, though not quite to the end of their fiscal year, which concludes in March.
Sue Dale, communications director at the Simcoe County CAS, said the provincial government's "cash advance" should get the agency through to January, but "we're not looking at layoffs at this point."
The local CAS has the second-largest shortfall -- $5.2 million -- in the province, ranking behind only York Region.
"I've never seen a deficit of this size," Simcoe North MPP Garfield Dunlop said.
The MPP said he had heard concerns from staff about how the agency would deal with the deficit -- including potential layoffs -- "but they'll likely be OK now" with the emergency funding.
The CAS continues to negotiate with the province for increased funding.
"We're also looking at cost savings in every other area," Dale said. "We're working through the plan."
CAS funding is "a high priority" for the opposition, Dunlop said.
"Overall, we're going to keep pressing this," he said. "The difference now is the economy. There's less jobs and more strain on marriages and families. Of all things, we need the Children's Aid Society."
Under the Child and Family Services Act, the CAS is mandated to protect children, investigate allegations of child abuse and neglect, while also providing guidance, care, prevention and adoption services.
"If you're going to do that, you'll need assistance from the government," Dunlop said.
In some parts of Ontario, CAS officials are contemplating cuts to core services, including abuse prevention programs, counselling services for families in crisis, and court-ordered visits to children in foster, or residential care.
The Simcoe County CAS has about 430 children in care.
Local CAS officials said last month that the child-protection agency would face severe funding cuts this fiscal year unless the province honoured its commitment to mandated services. Officials say the Simcoe County CAS is receiving 10% less funding than it did last year.
However, Barrie MPP Aileen Carroll countered it's not a funding decrease that's causing the difficulty. She said CAS agencies across Ontario are in trouble because they weren't going to receive year-end assistance.
CAS funding has grown from $500 million a decade ago to $1.4 billion, Carroll said, adding a commission will be struck to investigate sustainable funding issues.
Source: Barrie Examiner