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Cuts to Children's Aid
May 29, 2013 permalink
CAS stakeholders rallied outside the Windsor office of Teresa Piruzza, Ontario's minister of Children and Youth Services. The stakeholders were all persons employed by social services. Instead of honestly advocating for their own paycheques, they chose to claim they were acting for the benefit of families and children. But no parents or children participated in the demands to maintain funding for children's aid. In a second article, Highland Shores CAS announced cutbacks.
CAS stakeholders protest outside Piruzza’s office
CTV Windsor: CAS rally against cuts
Stakeholders with the Children’s Aid Society are trying to stop cuts and restore services within the sector.
The group protested outside the Windsor office of Teresa Piruzza, minister of Children and Youth Services.
Organizers say the cuts are a problem in the Windsor area and throughout the province.
“It distresses me that when they're using statistics to determine a funding formula, as we all know being in Windsor, things can change overnight,” says Andrea Madden, CAS community initiatives coordinator.
Piruzza came out of her office to hear and address concerns.
“Our main objective of protecting our children and ensuring that we keep our communities safe,” says " says Piruzza. “We can ensure that all children have the opportunity to be successful and have all the support that they require will continue.”
Two months ago, 18 casual case workers were laid off at CAS in Windsor due to budgetary restraints.
Consultations will take place between Ontario and CAS officials over the next five years as a new funding formula is implemented.
CAS axing program, 20 jobs
The society's budget development is guided through the provincial funding formula for children's aid society, which was developed by the Commission for Sustainable Child Welfare and came into effect last April 1st.
Mark Kartusch, executive director of Highland Shores Children's Aid (HSCA), noted during the society's last board meeting held in Belleville Wednesday evening HSCA will reduce three service support programs by one staff member each, as well as its after-hours reception coverage by cutting the after-hour security guard position.
“While we understand the fiscal environment and the need for a new funding model, the society is concerned with elements of the model and its implementation within our local communities and across the province,” said Kartusch.
While it finished its 2012/13 budget with a modest surplus, the society forecasts a 2013/14 budget of $45,740,001.
Kartusch noted the new formula allocates funding to each society based on combination of both socio-economic and volume-based factors. As a result, the model calls for a two-percent decrease in the budget each year over the next five years — representing an approximate $950,000-reduction per year.
“Operating a group home such as the RTP is simply not possible in this new fiscal environment as we cannot continue to support demands the business of group care places on our organization,” he explained.
While he recognizes the announced program closure and staff reductions are “very difficult” for the society, Kartusch said HSCA's intention is to lessen the impact using methods such as attrition or re-assignment before thinking of layoffs in situations “where this is possible.”
“This new fiscal environment will require many child aid services to fundamentally re-think how they deliver child welfare services,” he added.
“As Highland Shores moves into its future, our hope is to create a healthy, sustainable organization that meets the needs of our communities in Hastings County, Northumberland and Prince Edward County.”
In addition to axing its Residential Treatment Program and cutting 20 positions, the society has identified numerous areas that could generate budget savings, from reducing overtime, mileage to the cost of placing children in 'Outside Paid Resources' care.
“We will continue to to be committed to delivering the best possible service to our clients, while being accountable to the public with regard to the use of public funds,” added Kartusch.
Source: County Weekly News