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A 50 percent reduction in the number of children in care is one of the highlights of the 2018 Report to the Community by Family and Children's Services of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington. The report by the 124-year-old Children’s Aid Society presents a report card on the agency’s five-year Strategic Plan.
Created shortly after the amalgamation of the Agency from the Children’s Aid Societies in Lennox and Addington and Kingston and Frontenac, the Strategic Plan had five directions:
1. Strengthen families to keep children in their own home.
2. Find timely alternative permanent families for children that cannot stay in their family.
3. In the role of parent ensure every child in care experiences family-based care, positive educational outcomes, a vibrant family access program and more.
4. Promote and develop professional excellence through training, an Anti-Oppressive Framework and more.
5. Be accountable and efficient by developing a balanced scorecard, measuring client feedback and enhancing fundraising capacity.
“The Strategic Plan we created was more than just the sum of the plans of the two agencies that we were created from. We wanted to be the best we could be. We searched for new ideas and created some of our own,” said Steve Woodman, Executive Director of Family and Children's Services.
One of the most transformative results under the Strategic Plan was in the use of prevention to keep families in crisis together. When the Agency amalgamated in 2012 it had 435 kids in care. By Spring of 2018 it had reduced that by 50 percent. It means that more than ever before Family and Children’s Services is helping keep families together.
The Agency has also prioritized extended family as an alternative to foster care and family-based care over group homes. Currently, it has eight youth living in group care – down from 52 in 2012. Other highlights include the introduction of a bold, new service model and a community-based access program for family visits with kids in care. Now, half of access visits take place in the community.
Although it wasn’t a part of the Strategic Plan, Reconciliation has been a major focus of the Agency’s work in the last five years. It has made a formal apology to Indigenous peoples and a nine-point commitment to reduce the number of Indigenous children in care. The Agency has also started a local dialogue with the Indigenous community and recruited a new Indigenous member to our Board of Directors.
“We’ve made a good start on Reconciliation, but there’s a long journey ahead of us if we are to create trust with Indigenous peoples,” said Woodman.
“We want to thank all of the people in the community who have made our success possible – our staff, foster parents, volunteers, community partners and donors,” said Woodman. “We’re proud of what we have achieved together. We’re proud to serve this community.”