Funding to retain social services staff falls short
The Alberta governmentis giving social agencies $26.1 million to help them keep staff from leaving for higher-paying jobs, but the amount is a fraction of what was originally requested.
"At a time when the province's population and prosperity are rapidly growing, this funding will help these highly valued agency professionals respond and continue to provide … treatment that benefits Albertans," Health and Wellness Minister Dave Hancock said in a news release.
The agencies that have government contracts to help children and adults with developmental disabilities had asked the province for $80 million to address staff turnover.
Many of the groups have been periodically closing, sending disabled adults home to aging parents and shutting group homes for up to a week at at time.
A study by the Alberta Council of Disability Services last yearfound 40 per cent of staff at community agencies quit in 2005.
"We've seen already a number of agencies that are reducing services," said Bill Moore-Kilgannon, executive director of Public Interest Alberta, who helped campaign the province for extra funding.
He said the new money, expected to begin flowing in December, will meet the costs of inflation this year, but more is needed.
"We have so many letters from individuals who are impacted by this," he said Monday. "Parents who have children with disabilities, or women who are being turned away from women's shelters because they're full that are going to continue to suffer … if we don't get a long-term solution to this."
The province said Monday's $26.1 million is in addition to $68.3 million already provided since 2005 for human resources costs.