WHEREAS Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) is a partnership between the Province of Alberta, Municipalities and Métis Settlements that develop locally driven, preventative social initiatives that enhance the well being of individuals, families and communities; and
WHEREAS Family and Community Support Services is established pursuant to the Family and Community Support Services Act and the Family and Community Support Services Regulation; and
WHEREAS Alberta Legislation 218/94 Family and Community Support Services does not provide sufficient flexibility for funding to be used to respond to emerging local community social needs;
WHEREAS funding supports are limited when it comes to project initiatives that might help identify and create awareness around a community social need;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request the Government of Alberta amend Alberta Regulation 218/94 to add, section 2.1(1) paragraph (vi) to read “provide direct assistance as part of a Pilot Project established for the purposes of identifying and confirming an emerging community need which could then be addressed in the long term through other community means.”
Unfortunately, because these service areas (money, food, clothing or shelter) are considered crisis/intervention services these costs are not eligible for FCSS funding support. Parkland County believes that there may be unmet, unconfirmed needs in these areas and feels that FCSS funding should be available to support short-term crisis intervention pilot projects for the purposes of exploring, assessing and confirming community needs. Once the projects have been carried out and needs confirmed, long-term operational funding support would need to be sought outside of the FCSS program. If the need does not exist, then community efforts can be redirected.
For clarity, the regulation currently reads as follows:
2.1(1) Services provided under a program must
9-10F: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties petition the Government of the Province of Alberta to increase provincial funding to municipalities for Family and Community Support Services to 100 million dollars annually thereby relieving the pressure on crisis intervention services.
Resolution 17-11F calls on the Government of Alberta to consider greater flexibility and local autonomy in the utilization of Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) funding to identify and meet emerging local social needs.
The FCSS program was designed to fund a variety of preventive community social programs to support families before they reach a crisis. These include youth outreach services, parenting programs, life skill programs and pre-school programs. Community development is an integral component of FCSS. Activities such as environmental scans, service reviews and needs assessments are eligible services.
A key principle of FCSS is local responsibility for priority setting and resource allocation. Within the parameters of the FCSS Act and Regulation, each municipality or Métis settlement determines how the FCSS funding they receive should be allocated to best meet the needs of their community. Under the current regulation, services provided under FCSS must not provide primarily for recreational needs or leisure time pursuits, offer direct assistance to sustain an individual (including money, food, clothing or shelter), be primarily rehabilitative in nature, or duplicate services that are ordinarily provided by a government or a government agency.
The FCSS Regulation will expire in June 2013, and is currently being reviewed to ensure that it continues to be current and relevant. An FCSS Regulation Review Working Group has been established to oversee the review, identify any changes or clarifications needed and make recommendations for amendments. The government will be requesting input from local communities and vested organizations, such as the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties, to ensure the regulation is meeting local needs as well as the intent of the legislation.
Municipalities and Métis settlements know the priorities of their communities and are in the best position to determine which programs and services receive funding through FCSS. The government will continue to work with its municipal and Métis settlement partners to ensure positive results for each community.
The government response notes that a key principle of the FCSS program is local responsibility for priority setting and resource allocation. The current FCSS regulation outlines what services can be provided using FCSS funding and though it states that municipalities determine how the funding they receive should be allocated to best meet the needs of their community, it also identifies services that are not permitted such as those that duplicate services ordinarily provided by a government or government agency. The FCSS regulation was recently reviewed and will expire in June 2015. In this review, the suggested amendment noted in the resolution was not made. As such, this resolution has been assigned a status of Unsatisfactory. The AAMDC will continue to advocate on this issue in anticipation of the expiration of the regulation.