Frank Klees

York Region Children's Aid

February 15, 2010 Province Hands the York Region Children's Aid a Lifeline

See article by Chris Traber in the YR News Feb 18, 2010

          Thank you, Mr. Klees

Scott Miller,
A Director on the Board of York Region Children's Aid Society.

Dear Mr. Klees,

I do not know how I can thank you enough for all that you have done to assist York CAS over the last eight months.  It was you who first brought our situation to the attention of the legislature and who demanded accountability from the minister. (By this action alone you assisted CAS agencies throughout the province.) Your raising the profile of our agency and its needs by your continued asking of questions in the legislature, by your willingness to address the media, and by your collaborative efforts with other caucus members is truly appreciated.

As I am sure you are aware, last Friday, Children and Youth Services Minister Laurel Broten announced an infusion of $26.9 million into the child welfare system to keep deficit-ridden children's aid societies afloat until the next fiscal year.  The York Region CAS share of this money is $4.1 million.  We, as well as, twenty-five other provincial children's aid societies will be receiving the funds immediately, as Minister Broten stated, to put us "on a stable footing." We have been told that these funds are one-time "transition" dollars.  This funding will allow us to get through the fiscal year without any further crisis or layoffs, although we still face a deficit of $2.2 million. 

We do not know what to expect with regard to future funding, however we are remaining optimistic that the Commission to Promote Sustainable Child Welfare will recognize and ultimately resolve the long-standing systemic issues within child welfare so that we do not reach the point of crisis again.  For now, I wish to offer you my sincerest appreciation for all you did in representing one of the most vulnerable sectors of your constituency, and indeed, of all York Region.  

The Board of Directors and our staff, will continue to work to ensure the children and families of York Region continue to receive the level of care and service they deserve.

Thank you again.

Sincerely,
Scott Miller,
A Director on the Board of York Region Children's Aid Society.

 

 

November 5, 2009 See video re: Followup Question to the Minister reqarding funding crisis

October 20, 2009 (Queen’s Park) Newmarket-Aurora MPP Frank Klees today brought the serious funding concerns of the York Region Children’s Aid Society to the floor of the Ontario Legislature. Klees reminded Children’s Services Minister Laurel Broten, that 36 out of the 51 Children’s Aid Societies in the province are facing a funding crisis, and that the York Region CAS is in even more critical circumstances, because it is already receiving the lowest level of funding per unit of service in the GTA. To make matters worse, York Region CAS has been told that its budget will be cut by an additional $5.5 million. 

See Press release

See video of Question

 

August 26, 2009                                                                     News Clip from the Era Banner October 9, 2009

   

The Honourable Madeleine  Meilleur

Minister of Community & Social Services

6th Floor Hepburn Block

80 Grosvenor Street

Toronto, ON  M7A 1E9

Dear Minister:

I am writing in support of the York Region Children’s Aid Society’s request

to reconsider their budget allocation.

It is unconscionable that the Ministry of Children & Youth Services would in these times of increased family stress reduce the budget of our CAS.  The York Region CAS has consistently done the most for our vulnerable youth with the least amount of dollars.  As you know, York Region is a high growth area and as such an increase in the budget allocation would have been the right thing to do.  To cut the budget, especially in this time of economic hardship is totally unreasonable.

The time has come to stop the systemic underfunding of York Region Children’s Aid Society.  I am adding my voice to that of Denise Bilsland, the President of the York Region Children’s Aid Society.  Please review the 2009/2010 budget allocation on behalf of my constituents.

Yours sincerely,

  

Frank Klees, MPP

News Clip from the Era Banner

Regional News/EraBanner

October 09, 2009 11:40 AM


Chris Traber
-reporter

A $5.5-million provincial budget cut to York Region Children’s Aid Society will not immediately jeopardize core services to families and children, executive director Patrick Lake said.

The agency, serving 1,200 families, 2,400 children residing in their own homes and up to 474 kids in the agency’s care each year, learned of the cut in June.

Children’s Aid Societies are mandated to perform certain tasks under legislation and are required to have a balanced budget approved by the Minister of Children and Youth Services at the beginning of each year.

York’s is among a record 36 of the 51 societies that have filed Section 14 reviews, a mechanism to appeal the government’s cutbacks.

With a fiscal year beginning April 1, the timing of the cuts was somewhat fortuitous.

Originally, Mr. Lake and his board determined $43.5 million was needed to balance their 2009 mandate with their budget. Had the province chopped the budget at the beginning of the fiscal year, the agency faced the specter of cutting services and staff by a third, Mr. Lake said.

The agency has filed for review and is expecting to learn outcomes next month. To temper the financial setback, Mr. Lake has meet with Children and Youth Services Minister Deb Matthews.

“We’ve been told that changes to funding could takes years.

“We recognize the province is in a severe financial crisis and is facing increased demands and decreased revenues. We know they’re between a rock and a hard place and that they don’t expect us to cut core services.”

“We hope the ministry will work with us and the cuts will be done over time.”

Ontario’s conduct is “unconscionable”, Conservative Newmarket-Auora MPP Frank Klees said, particularly in light of yesterday’s auditor general report concluding Ontario wasted billions on electronic health records with little to show for it.

“The government has no sense of priority on how tax dollars are invested,” he said.

“The underfunding of the York Region CAS is the ultimate in irresponsibility and the province has no idea how to be a good steward of public funds.

“I’ve repeatedly tried to impress upon (Community and Social Services Minister Madeleine Meilleur) that they need to be advocates for the most vulnerable — our children.”

Ontario’s children’s aid funding cuts fly in the face of policy, Mr. Klees said.

“CAS services are mandated by the provincial government and then they don’t fund it,” he said. “They turn a blind eye and aren’t held accountable. Ultimately, they’ll be held accountable by the electorate. Unfortunately, there’s two years to go.”

Calls to Liberal Oak Ridges-Markham MPP Helena Jaczek were not returned.

York’s agency is now in cost containment mode, Mr. Lake said.

Hopeful its review and multi-year plan will be approved, the society is renegotiating equipment and third party service contracts related to overhead and discretionary budget items.

“We’ve not yet arrived at the end of the process,” Mr. Lake said. “We’re looking at every cut before any cuts to service.”

“If we reach the point where our options are exhausted, we, like all agencies, will have to have the board grapple with how we balance the budget and shift resources.”
Both Mr. Lake and Mr. Klees suggest part of the problem is the region’s accelerated growth and Ontario’s reluctance to fund resources proportionately.

“Funding has not kept up,” Mr. Lake said.

“All those who provide social services are struggling. Our budget is less than what we had in 2007 when there were 100,000 fewer residents in York Region.”