Update on PDD and FMS funding
We appreciate that Community and Social Services (CSS) is providing some flexibility in the use of Family Managed Services (FMS) funds but overall we find CSS’s response falls short. During this crisis, Family Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD) and Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) contract renewals must, at minimum, be approved without reductions in funding or the length of contracts. Families need assurances that they will not be penalized in the future if their funding is under-utilized during the COVID-19 crisis.
CSS has asked families to track the administrative impacts of COVID-19. We’re more concerned about the impacts on the lives of children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families.
With everything else they’re having to manage, trying to reach their FMS or FSCD worker to tell them each time they’re having to make adjustments in how they’re using their funding as a result of COVID-19 adds to their challenges. We suggest families keep track of this and, when life permits, send an email or leave your worker a voicemail message if they’re not available when you call.
We will continue to advocate for CSS to provide clear safety protocols and needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) so that those families and individuals continuing to need staff support can best ensure they and their staff are safe. And we will continue to advocate for more substantive measures of financial support, from the provincial government, for individuals with disabilities, their families and those who provide supports and services.
While almost all of our own staff members are working from their homes, they are still available to listen and respond as possible to families and individuals during this period of physical distancing while we all strive to maintain social connections and relationships.
You can read the letter about PDD and FMS from Assistant Deputy Ministers of CSS below, or as a PDF. If you have any questions or concerns about funding and supports for anyone with a developmental disability, child or adult, please get in touch with us by email, email@example.com, or by phoning our main office in Edmonton at 780-451-3055, or toll-free at 1-800-252-7556.
March 28, 2020
Hello PDD Families,
The ministry of Community and Social Services (CSS) is reaching out to you because we know the COVID-19 pandemic situation is an extremely challenging time for all Albertans and we know every family in Alberta is facing unforeseen pressures related to accessing community services such as day care and recreation, purchasing household necessities, and remaining connected to family and friends. Regardless of who you are or where you live, COVID-19 is affecting all Albertans practically, financially and emotionally. CSS knows that the current situation can be particularly hard on families who rely on our programs and services for support, and we want you to know we are committed to maintaining CSS programs and services during the COVID-19 pandemic, within the context of our current reality.
Please be assured that during the COVID-19 pandemic, CSS staff will continue to administer PDD Family Managed Service (FMS) agreements as per usual practice and including the renewal of existing agreements. We encourage you to remain in regular phone and on-line contact with your PDD worker to address any concerns you may have (in-person meetings are paused until further notice as per public health social distancing directives).
We recognize the current COVID-19 pandemic situation may affect the availability of services you typically access through your PDD FMS agreement and we have directed PDD staff to be flexible in supporting you to meet your needs specific to the COVID-19 pandemic and within your existing agreement. For example, if you are having difficulty maintaining staff to support your family member’s needs during this challenging time and are therefore under-utilizing your staffing dollars; please connect with your PDD worker to explore possibilities for using this budget line to access other supports.
We are tracking the administrative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic so please record the things you are doing within your agreement that are specific to COVID-19, and remember to inform your PDD worker about each one. We want to track pandemic costs to inform future emergency planning and to help ensure that any impacts to your current agreement that are specific to the COVID-19 pandemic do not unfairly impact future agreements.
Our staff will continue to support your family as best we can during this challenging time.
Please note we are in daily discussions with Inclusion Alberta and the Alberta Council for Disability Services to monitor the impact the COVID-19 situation is having on Albertans with disabilities and their families. We also have a weekly teleconference with the PDD Service Provider Partnership Committee to discuss COVID-19 related service delivery challenges. These conversations are informing the management of our disability programs during this pandemic crisis.
Remember, the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 is available on line at www.alberta.ca.
John Stinson, Assistant Deputy Minister
Program Policy and Improvement, Community and Social Services
Jason Chance, Assistant Deputy Minister
Delivery Services, Community and Social Services