UCP govt cuts FSCD funding by $8M, reduces caseloads in 5 regions

FSCD caseloads in Alberta have grown more slowly under the UCP, and have even shrunk in most regions of the province.

Earlier this year, the Alberta Government updated caseload data for the Family Support for Children with Disabilities program run by the Community and Social Services ministry. The data runs from April 2018 to December 2020.

In April 2018, Alberta had 12,964 FSCD cases. A year later, in April 2019, that number had increased to 14,440. That was an additional 1,476 cases, or an increase of 11.4%, which works out to about 0.95% new cases a month, on average.

April 2019 just happens to be the month that the UCP government was elected.

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A year after the election—in April 2020—cases had risen to 15,163. That’s an increase of just 723 new cases, or basically half the increase seen in the previous year.

As a percentage, cases went up by only 5.01%, less than half the growth rate from the previous year. The monthly average growth rate was 0.42%.

And before anyone jumps down my throat and says that it was because families were getting federal pandemic benefits, remember that April 2020 is only 1 month after pandemic restrictions were in place. Plus, the number of cases in February 2020—the month before restrictions—was 15,109. So, cases were still increasing at the start of the pandemic.

Here’s what the monthly caseload looks like in a graph.

Now, between April 2020 and December 2020, Alberta reduced their caseload by more than 100 cases, going from 15,163 to 15,061. That’s roughly 13 cases lost every month.

Here’s how the data breaks down by the 7 CSS regions:

Apr 2018Apr 2019Apr 2020Dec 2020
North East190214223228
North Central614653570519
North West446543590491

Every region except for two—Calgary and North East—saw a reduction in caseload between April 2020 and December 2020.

And two of the regions had a caseload in 2020 that was lower than what they had 2 and a half years prior: Central and North Central.

Let’s look at the change in caseloads for each region as a percentage:

Apr 2019Apr 2020Dec 2020
North Central+6.35%-12.71%-8.95%
North East+12.63%+4.21%+2.24%
North West+21.75%+8.66%-16.78%

What we see is that in every region, the caseload increased between April 2018 and April 2019. The smallest increase was 6.35% in North Central.

However, the following year, the increased dropped in every region. For example, the North Central region saw a drop of 19.06 points, going from a 6.35% increase in cases to a 12.71% decrease in cases.

The Central Region was a close second (18.56), and North West was third with a 13.06 drop.

RegionChange in caseload
growth rate
2019 vs 2020
North Central-19.06
North West-13.09
North East-8.43

And as a graph

It’s clear that the Alberta government is not taking on as many FSCD cases as they have in the past, and for some regions, even fewer cases than they were just 2 years ago.

Which shouldn’t be that surprising, given that the government is spending less on FSCD operating expenses now than they were just two years ago.

During the 2019–2020 budget year, Alberta spent $219.61 million on FSCD. This year, they plan to spend $211.95 million. That’s a cut of nearly $8 million.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

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