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WHEREAS Family and Community Support Services is a partnership between the Province of Alberta, municipalities and Métis Settlements that develop locally driven, preventative social initiatives that enhance the wellbeing of individuals, families and communities;
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;
WHEREAS pursuant to the Family and Community Support Services Act and Regulation 80% of funding is provided from the Province of Alberta and 20% from local municipalities;
WHEREAS funding from the Province of Alberta for Family and Community Support Services is currently 75.5 million dollars;
WHEREAS prevention services offered by Family and Community Support Services to individuals, families and communities have been proven to reduce long term social and economic costs to society;
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.
Investment in prevention services will be a significant step in creating sustainable systems for Children and Youth Services, Health, Justice, and Education.
In the human service delivery system there are three levels of service-sometimes called by different names. Each level is described below.
“Prevention” “Primary Prevention” “Universal Services”
– Promote wellness
– Promote positive behaviour
– Change environments
– Build skills
– Promote awareness
– Provide supports
“Secondary Prevention” “Early Intervention” “Targeted Services”
-To intervene at early signs of problems
-To reduce crises
-To change troubling behaviours
-People in early crisis
-Recommend solutions to problems
-Respond to crises
-Diffuse short term crises
-Provide skills to change responses
“Tertiary Services” “Crisis Intervention” “Clinical Services” “Treatment”
-People in crisis
-Provide skills to rehabilitate
The Perry Preschool Program was implemented in 1962. A sample of 123 young African American children were randomly assigned to a program group that received a high-quality preschool program at ages 3 and 4 or to a control group. The children in both groups were assessed on 14 occasions between the ages of 3 and 40. Children in the program group exceeded the control group in:
– Tested ability and performance throughout childhood
– Higher adult earnings
– Rates of employment
– Rates of home ownership
– Half as many lifetime arrests for violent, property and drug crimes
– Fewer convictions
The economic return to society was $17.07 for every dollar invested.
(Victims & Offenders, Volume 2, Issue 2 April 2007, pages 141-160)
In November, 2009, Wilder Research published the Cost Savings Analysis of School Readiness in Michigan report. It concluded the cost savings and revenues realized in 2009 in the state of Michigan due to the investments in school readiness over the past 25 years is an estimated $1.15 billion. The study also concluded the ongoing cost burden of not investing in school readiness for all disadvantaged children is an estimated $598 million per year. (www.wilderresearch.org)
Luciano L’Abate outlines criteria that differentiate approaches to service delivery in his book Building Family Competence.
CRITERIA – PRIMARY
Risk – Low to minimal
Reversibility – High: 100% to 66%
Probability of Breakdown – Low but potential
Population – Non-clinical: labelled but not diagnosable
Ability to Learn – High
Goals – Increase competence and resistance to breakdown
Type of Involvement – Voluntary: many choices
Recommendations – “Could benefit by it” / “It would be nice”
Cost – Low
Effectiveness – High
Personnel – Lay volunteers and pre- and paraprofessionals
Types of Intervention – General, learning, strengthening, enrichment
Degree of Structure – High
Degree of Specificity – General and topical
CRITERIA – SECONDARY
Risk – High: in need but not critical
Reversibility – Medium: 66% to 33%
Probability of Breakdown – Medium but probably
Population – Preclinical and diagnosable
Ability to Learn – Medium
Goals – Decrease stress and chance of crisis
Type of Involvement – Obligatory: decrease in choices
Recommendations – ““You need it before it’s too late”/“Recommend strongly that you do it
Cost – Medium
Effectiveness – Questionable yet to be found
Personnel – Middle-level professionals
Types of Intervention – More specific to behaviour, that is, programmed materials
Degree of Structure – Medium
Degree of Specificity – Individualized
CRITERIA – TERTIARY
Risk – Very high: critical
Reversibility – Low to very low: 33% to 0%
Probability of Breakdown – High and real (actual)
Population – Clinical: critical and diagnosed
Ability to Learn – Low
Goals – Restore to minimum functioning
Type of Involvement – Mandatory: no other choices available
Recommendations – “It is necessary”/ “Nothing else will work”/“Other choices would be more expensive” (i.e. hospitalization, incarceration)
Cost – High
Effectiveness – Relatively low
Personnel – Professionals
Types of Intervention – Specialized therapy
Degree of Structure – Low
Degree of Specificity – Specific to the symptom
Primary prevention services are presented to more people, are less expensive, are more effective, contribute to positive outcomes and prevent more serious conditions. They do not label or stigmatize individuals and families.
The AAMDC has no active resolutions directly related to this issue. The AUMA has a similar resolution awaiting vote at the upcoming convention.
Children and Youth Services:
In October 2009, the Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) Association of Alberta (FCSSAA) developed a Funding Advocacy presentation outlining the challenges facing FCSS programs, including increased operating costs and demand for services, as well as challenges with staff recruitment and retention. In recognition of the economic environment, the FCSSAA requested that funding not be reduced in 2010/2011 and that an increase be considered in better fiscal times. Municipalities have continued to advocate for an increase.
The Government of Alberta is committed to working with municipal and community partners to deliver services that are important to Albertans. Our priority is to ensure the safety and well-being of the most vulnerable and at-risk children and families. We appreciate the important role that FCSS plays in identifying and addressing preventive social service needs. Prevention and early intervention services are important to building and sustaining healthy families and communities, and FCSS is a key contributor in the continuum of preventive social services at a grassroots level.
Funding for FCSS was maintained at $75.7 million in 2010/2011, the same as the previous year. Since 1999/2000, funding for FCSS has more than doubled (funding for 1999/2000 was $36.3 million). During these challenging economic times, we will continue to work with our community partners to explore innovative ways to deliver services.
The 2013-14 budget maintained funding for FCSS at $76 million thus requiring the AAMDC to find the response to this resolution to be unsatisfactory. In the last budget year, the Family and Community Support Services Association of Alberta (FCSSAA) acknowledged the fiscal position of the Government of Alberta at that time and advocated to retain the $75 million in funding. With this in mind, along with the fact that the province is still operating in a deficit, the AAMDC will not actively advocate on this resolution until such time as the government’s financial outlook improves but will monitor developments in FCSS funding.