Some changes are coming to Kneehill County’s Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) organization, heard by council during their regular meeting May 26.
The meeting was broadcast on the county’s YouTube channel and councillors had ample space in chambers to meet social distancing requirements.
Councillors heard a report from Coun. Ken King, who also sits on the FCSS committee. He gave an update on what challenges the local FCSS board is facing.
“Be aware, there are some big changes coming,” said King to his council peers.
King noted a lot of familiar programs that were associated with FCSS do not exist anymore, such as the ParentLink centres.
However, some familiar programs survived recent changes made by the provincial government, including community resource workers.
King reported that the local FCSS board had a recent discussion about the community resource worker program, which previously had three full-time staff.
He said it became clear after recent provincial government announcements FCSS would not be able to keep three full-time community resource worker staff.
For example, King noted the local FCSS board lost about $89,000 in funding from the Child Services department after the provincial government made changes.
However, as the councillor explained, the local FCSS board decided to make a funding decision of their own and continue the community resource worker program, although it will be reduced to two full-time positions.
King stated $136,000 in total funding will be made available to the community resource worker program.
The FCSS board also decided that with changes to community resource worker funding, some tweaks would also be made to their roles.
The board is asking the community resource workers to broaden their focus to include programs at schools, play schools and home schools.
Reeve Jerry Wittstock noted that the provincial government technically promised not to cut FCSS funding, but the provincial government did eliminate certain programs.
King stated no special funding was made available to FCSS boards for COVID-19 as far as he knew.
Also, the provincial government’s promise of no cuts to FCSS funding only applies to this year.
Coun. King stated no one knows what’s going to happen next year.
Councillors accepted King’s report for information.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter