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Deficiencies identified in Red Deer County FCSS

A review of the Red Deer and District Family and Community Support Services conducted by Red Deer County suggests improvements are needed in areas of funding and services.

A review of the Red Deer and District Family and Community Support Services conducted by Red Deer County suggests improvements are needed in areas of funding and services.The review, conducted as a means to determine if county residents have access to and are receiving the services they need, was presented before council last Tuesday, and identified issues council agreed need to be addressed. It was the first time a comprehensive review of the program has been conducted since the partnership started 37 years ago, and the findings show few if any county residents are benefiting from services and programs.The organization is a partnership between the county, City of Red Deer, Bowden, Penhold, Delburne and Elnora and is administered by the City of Red Deer.The county contributes $443,475 towards FCSS services, which includes a provincial share of 80 per cent matched by a county contribution of 20 per cent. It supports a total of 39 different programs, three of which are solely Red Deer County initiatives.People between 20 and 54 represent 49 per cent of county citizens, but a total of seven per cent of all FCSS expenses relate to adult programs. County residents within areas of Innisfail and Sylvan Lake may be using services within the municipalities outside of the partnership for programs that aren't available to them in the county, the review revealed.Whether county residents are using the services and programs provided is unclear because there is no system in place to track where participants are travelling from and a need to promote programs and services to county residents was identified as a need for improvement.Community services manager Jo-Ann Symmington presented the review to council and said the county should work with FCSS over the next year to look at ways to improve the current model. Failing that, the county could start up its own FCSS, changing the current community facilitator position to a FCSS coordinator position and hiring two part-time district community worker positions.ìIt's not going to be our day to pack our bag and leave the partnership,î Div. 4 Coun. David Hoar said during last week's council meeting.ìIt may not say in the report but there could be an underlying tone if we don't see improvements,î Hoar said. ìWe will look at changing our agreement.îìI don't believe the report indicates we pull out but work together,î Mayor Jim Wood said in response.ìI feel we do need to in a timely fashion identify to the FCSS board that we do have some concerns.îCouncil voted to direct administration to make a presentation at an upcoming FCSS meeting.Linda Boyd, resource and capacity development supervisor of social planning for the City of Red Deer, said the board of directors is aware of the report and will be meeting March 1 to discuss the review.She said the agenda for the board meeting with the details of the review has yet to be sent out to all members of the board and any comments won't be made until after they meet.