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CAS faces staff and program cuts in new funding model

Mark Kartusch

Mark Kartusch

Staff and program cuts are part of budget plans for the new Highland Shores Children’s Aid Society. Executive Director mark Kartusch said the new fiscal environment will require many CASs to fundamentally re-think how they deliver child welfare services.

Kartusch outlined plans for the society’s 2013/14 budget at a board meeting this week. Speaking to a decrease in funding over the next five years, he noted budget development was guided by the new provincial funding formula for Children’s Aid Societies which was developed by the Commission for Sustainable Child Welfare and came into effect on April 1, 2013.

“The new formula allocates funding to each society based on a combination of both socio-economic and volume-based factors. As a result, the model calls for a two per cent decrease in the budget each year over the next five years for Highland Shores which represents approximately $950,000 per year,” he said in a statement. For fiscal 2013-14, Highland Shores is forecasting a budget of $45,740,001. The society finished the 2012-13 year with a modest surplus.

“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. “That being said, we are committed to continuing our mandate to focus on the safety, permanency and well-being of children, youth and families and will continue to work with the government in meeting the challenges that this model creates.”

He said that in order to meet its budget demands, the society will be “taking some difficult steps” which include closing its Residential Treatment Program (RTP) and reducing three service support programs by one staff member each as well as reducing its after-hours reception coverage.

“Also, with the redundancies from the implementation of the new service model for the amalgamated agency, some reductions will be made in management, administrative and service staff positions. In total, approximately 20 positions within the organization will be affected by the combined budget reductions and changes to the service model.

“As the society is forecasting a continued decrease in the number of children in its care, it will also continue to ensure that staffing levels appropriately match the volume of work,” he said.

In addition, the society has identified several areas to generate budget savings such as reducing overtime and mileage and reducing the costs of placing children in OPR care.

“We are very proud of the work of the staff of the Residential Treatment Program and the results they have achieved with the youth they have supported over the years,” said Kartusch. “However, operating a group home such as the RTP is simply not possible in this new fiscal environment as we cannot continue to support the demands the business of group care places on our organization. While taking steps such as this closure and the reduction of staff are very difficult for the society because of the impact it has on valued members of our organization, our intent is to lessen that impact using methods such as attrition or reassignment before resorting to layoff in situations where this is possible.”

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  1. The Executive of the HSCAS claims that the new funding model is going to force the Society to cut back on services and in a sense is crying out to the community about not having enough money. What he doesn’t mention is not only the fact that over 45.5 million dollars a year would be more than four times the amount required to deal with the amount of families that actually need assistance from the Children’s Aid Society as every CAS in the province of Ontario as a private corporation actually becomes forcibly involved in a massive number of families that do not require or want any assistance for no reason whatsoever other than their own financial gain.

    Because these corporations get their funding based on the number of children in care and the number of files open on families.

    The only difference with the new funding model is that this has now been changed to an average of over a 3 year period instead of every year and they make less money for children and families that are not a minority such as native families, single parent families, poor families, etc.

    So what he doesn’t mention is that all this means is that they will have to start targeting minority families more than they do already to keep their funding up and make more money.

    And don’t think for a second that they wont do this as they already do this to an extent and all they really care about is their own personal gains regardless of the best interest of the children or families!

    This was proven in March of this year when in a leaked memo by the Peel Region CAS they told their staff to keep files unnecessarily open on families for the sole purpose of retaining more funding. So if Peel CAS does it then so will the HSCAS.

  2. Paul says:

    I do understand Ontario is struggling to balance the books however certain things should not be underfunded.Encouraging Societies to save money and run in the black is good but taking money away and saying make due with what you get it rediculous. Child Welfare should be the #1 priority period…

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