By Jamie Rieger
For the first time in several years, Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) has seen an increase in funding from the provincial government. A recent announcement of $10-million increase will help local FCSS programs running in the community.
In June, the provincial government approved Bill 3, the Appropriation Act which is providing an additional $10,083,000 for the FCSS program. In August, Minister Sabir announced the additional funding to assist with population increases and local preventative social service needs and priorities.
In a press release issued on Sept. 18, Irfan Sabir, minister of human services said, “Our government committed to increasing FCSS program funding to meet the changing and expanding needs of children, families, and seniors across the province. Albertans rely on these programs to support their well-being and strengthen our communities.”
The increase brings the total provincial FCSS funding to $86 million. Approximately $7.5 million of the increase will go to 319 participating municipalities and Metis settlements, with the remaining going to communities that have seen a substantial population increase.
“This is great news. It’s not a huge amount for our area because of our population, but it will allow us operate our programs,” said Corinna Roth-Beacome, director of the Forty Mile Regional FCSS.
While the province provides 80 percent of the funding, the municipality must provide the remaining 20 percent. The County of Forty Mile, Town of Bow Island, and Village of Foremost all contribute to providing that 20 percent to the Forty Mile Regional FCSS and when doing their budgets factor in any potential increases to FCSS.
The increase of Bow Island’s contribution will be $822.50, which will be reflected in their 2016 budget. The Town’s actual contribution for 2015 was $10,965, with $11,239.13 being the approved budget request. For 2016, the 2.5 percent budget request totals $12,082.19 and the required municipal contribution for next year being $11,787.50
The County of Forty Mile’s 2015 contribution was $22,596.75. For 2016, the required municipal contribution is $24,291.50 and with the 2.5 percent budget request is $24,898.79.
The required contribution for the Village of Foremost for 2016 is $3,657 with the 2.5 percent budget request being $3,748.43.