West Island organization helping children and families needs more funding

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West Island organization needs more funding to help families
WATCH: A West Island organization helping children with behavioural issues is in need of more money. The Family Resource Centre has been offering much-needed services not just in the West Island, but across the greater Montreal area, for over two decades. Without an increase in funding, the centre's administrators fear they will have to cut the number of children they can help. Global’s Felicia Parrillo reports – Jun 20, 2023

Working out of a church in Pierrefonds, Que., the Family Resource Centre has been helping families for over two decades.

With its SNAP program, the community organization offers support and help to children with behavioural issues, and their parents.

The centre used to serve only families on the West Island, but has now serviced people all over the greater Montreal area.

The centre is mostly funded by the provincial government, but what it receives is not nearly enough to service all the requests that come in.

“Our core funding from the provincial government is $208,000 and to run the program the best way possible, we need at least $350,000 a year,” said Deborah St-Martin, the Family Resource Centre administrative director.

The centre says that gap in funding has forced herself and two others to reduce their hours, and it says if they don’t get more money soon it will also affect how many children they’ll be able to service in the fall.

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“Right now when a family calls me, I have to tell them that its possible that they can be on a waiting list for a year,” she said. “It’s scary because by the time a parent calls us it’s a crisis situation and they’re trying to deal with their children’s behaviour and they don’t know how anymore.”

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During a press conference last week by directors of Quebec’s youth protection services, we heard that there was an increase in reports made to the Directeur de la protection de la jeunesse (DPJ) last year.

Over 135,000 reports were made across the province, but 68.5 per cent of them — over 90,000 — were not retained.

The youth protection director of the CIUSSS de L’Ouest-de-L’île-de-Montréal, Linda See, said that shows that there is a big need for services for families in the community and said she’d “recommend that community organizations receive more funding.”

The family resource centre says it thinks the government needs to improve the way it funds community organizations.

“The government are often opening up new projects, new programs that you can apply for funds, but the problem with that is that it’s not core funding,” said St-Martin. “We don’t need to be applying for a new grant to come up with a new program that once the grant is finished, we don’t have the money to run it anymore.”

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The centre’s executive director says the government needs to be more proactive, instead of reactive.

“The best way to do that is to make sure that the money is filtered down to the front-line people, who are making a difference and have proven methods,” said Ron Swan.

In an email to Global News, a spokesperson for Quebec’s ministry of social services said, funding for community organizations working with youth has increased by 64% from $74.1 million in 2018-19 to $121.6 million as of March 2023.

“In regards to the Family Resource Centre , the organization gets its funding from the PSOC – a support program for community organizations, which is managed by CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal.”

“The organization has submitted an application for an increase in funding and will receive a response by the fall,” it said.

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