Lacombe and District Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) Executive Director Susan MacDonald sent a letter out to stakeholders announcing changes to Lacombe FCSS programming. (BLACK PRESS file photo)

Lacombe FCSS forced to scale back programming

Alberta Ministry of Children’s Services announced the termination of a number of programs

Last month, the Alberta Ministry of Children’s Services announced the termination of a number of programs and service contracts as of March 31, 2020.

Lacombe & District Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) has been the host agency for many of these programs and services across central Alberta, including: the Central Parkland Parent Link Network (five Parent Link Centres in Lacombe, Blackfalds, Rimbey, Ponoka and Wetaskiwin); the Healthy Families Home Visitation Program for Lacombe and Ponoka area; and the Early Years Coalition and Rural Playgroups in Clive, Bentley and Mirror. Our partner communities, Bentley, Clive and Blackfalds, will no longer receive the Community Building Initiative (Neighborhood Place) funding.

The Alberta Children’s Services Family and Community Resiliency Division is establishing a province-wide Family Resource Network (FRN) for delivering services for children ages 0-18 years under the Well-Being and Resiliency model – “A Framework for Supporting Safe and Healthy Children and Families.”

We have been invited to be part of this new network by submitting a response to the Expression of Interest (EOI) by January 20, 2020, to bid on offering children’s services for a three-year span, effective April 1, 2020. The successful proponents of the EOI will be awarded by mid-March 2020.

We anticipate working with our partners on service delivery through this new network. Stay tuned for future opportunities.

Over the past few weeks, community groups, FCSS representatives, municipal representatives from across our area network have been meeting to discuss the FRN approach, and how we can collaborate to ensure services are accessible and meet the needs of children and caregivers in our respective communities.

In preparation of ending services as they currently exist, Lacombe & District FCSS has been working with our five Parent Link Centres, Healthy Families and Rural Playgroups programs to review services to the end of March 2020, and to ensure resources are in place to meet operational commitments.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we move through this transition period:

  • Parent Link Centres, reduced level of programs and services from January to March, 2020
  • Healthy Families Program will continue with home visits until the end of February, 2020
  • Rural Playgroups in Bentley, Clive and Mirror will continue until to the end of March, 2020
  • Early Years Coalition is winding down operations at the end of March, 2020.

Lacombe & District FCSS would like to acknowledge and express tremendous gratitude to all our Parent Link and Healthy Families staff, playgroup leaders and community partners for their years of service to families in all our communities. Together we have made a difference, and we look forward to working with you to continue our support for central Alberta’s children and families.

-Submitted by Lacombe and District FCSS

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