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REPORTING · 18th October 2012
Walter McFarlane
On October 15th, Margaret Warcup presented to The Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services concerning the Child Development Centre. She explained she was also presenting on behalf of the Smithers as well.

“We want to put forward a number of recommendations,” said Warcup.

The first recommendation was for the funding for children with special needs be deemed a core service, particularly therapies: Occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech language pathology and family support services. Warcup pointed out none of these services have seen funding increases for many years.

She also wanted to see the services which go along with therapy be maintained and something be done about the Human Early Learning Partnership. Later in the meeting, Warcup would explain there is supposed to be matching funding so school age children, who need surgery and requires intensive therapy will be funded.

She was also asked about waitlists. Warcup told the Finance Committee the Government should make contracts longer than one year. “A therapist is not going to come unless they know they’ve got job security and funding within their contract to stay in an area and provide service,” said Warcup.

The second recommendation was to address the funding and policy direction for school age therapy services. The third recommendation is the funding for transitional times for children and youth with special needs as they move on to adult services. She expressed both of these have been started but there are still massive gaps.

Warcup also recommended contractors be accredited by CARF or COA. She asked for a complete financial audit after a new integrated caseload management system which has caused delivery challenges. She expressed millions of dollars have disappeared and there are families at risk due to the diversion of the money.

Her final recommendation: “We put forward that there are efficiencies obtained when the government contracts with not for profit agencies and you enable those not for profit agencies to have adequate funding from within our funding to cover our administration costs. We do a lot of community fundraising and we have phenomenal support. We have a telethon this weekend coming up that gives us lots of extra money so that we can maintain our services, but our contracts should have enough adequate administrative funding in them to maintain their viability that way.”

She concluded saying there was a lot of economic things happening in the Northwest but to have economic health, there also has to be social health and educational infrastructure support is needed in order to keep families happy.