Media releases | May 07, 2008

EDMONTON—Representatives from human service agencies announced today that they are deeply concerned the provincial budget will not resolve the on-going crisis facing community organizations to find and keep staff to provide services to children, youth and families in crisis and adults with disabilities.

Bill Winship, Vice President of the Alberta Council of Disability Services said, “they appreciate the recent increase of $24 million in PDD funding to community service providers, but this calculates out to less than an increase of 5% and clearly falls short of having a significant impact in reaching the funding levels required to provide competitive wages to people who support individuals with developmental disabilities. We continue to experience high turnover and vacancy rates, are forced to hire unqualified staff and see existing staff burn out as they work multiple jobs to support their families. The consequences being that vulnerable Albertans with developmental disabilities suffer.”

Patty Kilgallon, President of the Alberta Association of Services for Children and Families says “despite the Ministry’s efforts and recognition that there is a problem in this area, the government’s latest contribution of $11 million (a 5% increase in wages) will do little to prevent the collapse of our industry in Alberta. A recent survey of 35 of our member agencies shows that just in the last 6 months alone there have been a number of closures (temporary and permanent) and capping of services, and without a real commitment to address this problem many more agencies will be closing beds and reducing programs for children in crisis.”

Lavonne Roloff, Provincial Director of the Alberta Home Visitation Network Association says “many agencies have already had to cut back the number of families receiving home visitation services, leaving hundreds of families without critical early prevention and support.

All the member networks of the Who Cares Alberta Campaign have been working together to call on the provincial government to work with us in developing a multi-year plan to resolve the crisis, but we do not see anything in the provincial budget that will “close the gap” by providing competitive wages and benefits for our staff.” 

For more information about the campaign and participating organizations, please visit www.WhoCaresAlberta.com

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