There have been many questions asked regarding the Family Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD) program. I have been very transparent about our review of the FSCD program and my department has been working for many months to ensure the program meets the needs of children and families. Parents and families are included in our process.
We are consulting with them as we review this program. As Minister, I have personally met with many families and stakeholders to get their feedback first hand. This survey is part of the consultation process in addition to consultations with Regional Parent Advisory Councils, service providers, community agencies and advocacy organizations.
The survey was designed as a transparent way for families to provide their thoughts on how to make the FSCD program more sustainable and improve service delivery. The Provincial Parent’s Advisory Committee for FSCD (PPAC) was engaged and provided input to help make the questions more relevant to parents. To date, more than 7,300 surveys have been completed. Email notifications about the survey were sent to 13,800 families. I want to thank everyone who has responded to the survey and provided your input. If you haven’t completed the survey you can complete the survey online.
We are also holding virtual roundtable meetings with families and advocates from across the province. The PPAC told us the participants at the roundtable should reflect communities from across Alberta. As such, we looked at inviting participants using a fair process of selection. Three hundred families were randomly chosen based on geographical representation. Families were also assessed to make sure there was a diversity of attributes represented – such as the nature of a child’s disability, age of child and time spent in the program.
FSCD is a valuable program accessed by thousands of families across the province and we value the feedback we receive from stakeholders; we are listening to them. For example, during this review I have heard from families who are experiencing challenges in accessing certain supports for their child during the pandemic. As a result, I have increased funding flexibility for families to adapt to some of the challenges they are facing due to the impact of COVID-19 on their family.
I have also heard from many people with concerns about regional inconsistencies in the program and we will address those issues as we moved forward. The Government of Alberta also made a commitment to develop Family Resource Centres to assist parents as they make plans to meet the needs of their disabled child. I intend to fulfil this commitment and welcome input from parents, advocates, and all stakeholders to help inform the design of the Family Resource Centres as we conduct this review.
For more information, please contact my office: email [email protected].
Rajan Sawhney served as Minister of Community and Social Services from April 30, 2019 to July 7, 2021.