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WHEREAS rural municipalities are being requested to approve the development of childrens social care facilities/group homes; AND WHEREAS Alberta Health, Alberta Learning and Alberta Childrens Services all share a responsibility for children with high needs, emotional/behavioral needs and or special needs and there appears to be no coordination regarding the placement and funding for these childrens service needs.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge Alberta Childrens Services (Child Family Service Authorities), responsible for overseeing the placement of children in care, to coordinate with Alberta Health (Regional Health Authorities) and Alberta Learning (School Districts), thus ensuring that coordinated required resources are transferred to the receiving agencies/organizations providing the services (education, health, mental health) so that the safety and community programs and school boards can accommodate the needs of the children placed in care who are new to a municipality and a School District.
Alberta Childrens Services, Alberta Learning and Alberta Health all have a responsibility to provide services to children and to ensure the success and wellness of all children involved in their service area. Funding allocations within each ministry are provided in a different way even though many of the children may be the same (i.e. those with severe emotional/behavioral problems, high needs and/or special needs). School systems receive funding for special needs students based on recent historical data. The funding is annually capped at a specific number of students. The addition of special needs students placed in social care facilities/group homes means that funding formerly being used to provide services to the resident student population has to be diverted. For example, Black Gold Regional School Divisions jurisdiction profile funding for 2002/2003 Severe Disabilities is capped at 182.6 students. When Alberta Childrens Services determines that a block placement to a contracted group home in Leduc County from another education jurisdiction (i.e. Edmonton) is required, there is no additional funding through Alberta Learning. This means that the current children with severe disabilities will be impacted, as Black Gold is required to draw from their current budget and as a result from services currently being provided to students in Black Gold schools. (NOTE: school district/boards are not co-terminus with Regional Health Authorities and/or Child and Family Services Authorities.) Alberta Health is now responsible for Alberta Mental Health and the impact there is not presently known, however, many of the children being placed through Alberta Childrens Services have severe disabilities as defined by the schools and/or mental health issues. Alberta Childrens Services placement of children in the rural area does not always take into consideration the current levels of services (health, education, mental health, emergency services, and local programs/services).
The AAMDC has no resolutions currently in effect with respect to this matter.