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Dufferin CAS Wants Help from Taxpayers

April 8, 2010 permalink

Dufferin Child and Family Services

Dufferin CAS is moving to get help from the county taxpayers to purchase its palace on Riddell Road, ridding itself of future rent payments and freeing $200,000 per year to commit more mayhem against families. Click on the image for more detail.



DCAFS to pursue purchase of its home

Dufferin Child and Family Services (DCAFS) hopes to exercise an option to purchase its building on Riddell Road this November, and will seek the support of county council.

The agency, “an integrated children’s service providing: Child Protection Services; Children’s Mental Health; Developmental Support Services; and Headwaters Family Visit Centre,” says it now is spending more than it should to lease the building.

Executive Director Trish Keachie, who will outline a proposed solution at county council tonight, said in an interview that. even with what might be a $3.5-million mortgage, the accommodation savings from a purchase would be in the order of $200,000 a year.

The DCAFS obtained its building in 2005 in a leaseback arrangement with a buyback option on the fifth anniversary. Ms. Keachie said the purchase price would be about $4 million but, at the time of the lease, then-manager Gary Putnam submitted an application for provincial funding to be applied in 2010.

If that $3-million application is successful, the local cost to purchase would be reduced to about $1 million, part of which would be covered by fundraising activities of the agency itself.

Prior to 2005 and the construction of the building, the agency was housed in numerous locations. Ms. Keachie said the single location has facilitated “seamless service delivery for both staff and clients,” resulting in service efficiencies, savings on administration along with travel time, rentals for meetings, office equipment, and phone service as well as IT.

DCAFS is an almost unique example of integrated service. The agency performs the child protection service of the former Dufferin Children’s Aid Society as well as mental health and other services.

The fact of integration created an apparent accounting anomaly, which resulted in an $880,000 loss of funding for DCAFS when the province last year imposed a 10% cap on infrastructure spending.

Ms. Keachie’s explanation was generally (not in her words) that some transfers between functions appeared to have been considered as income whereas they were simply budgetary movements, or accounting movements, between but all from the same pot.

She did say that there has been “persistent underfunding” of child mental health services, and that budgets for the service has increased only 8% in the past 16 years.

Yet, statistically, according to Ms. Keachie, “one in five children struggles with mental health concerns (and) suicide is the second leading cause of non-accidental death for youth.”

She is expected to make a strong case tonight for support in the purchase of the DCAFS building.

Source: Orangeville Citizen