For over 50 years, the Government of Alberta, together with participating municipalities and Métis Settlements, have jointly funded preventive social services for Albertans through the Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) program. The Province contributes 80 per cent of the cost of operating a local program and the participating municipality or Métis Settlement contributes a minimum of 20 per cent. This unique provincial partnership program leverages municipal funds to greatly magnify their impact. Designed to allow communities to create customized programs that meet the specific needs of the local community, FCSS’s preventive programs and services promote well-being, resilience, and active participation in the community for people of all ages.
● 315 municipalities and Métis Settlements participate in FCSS, organized into 206 local programs, under the FCSS Act and Regulation.
● FCSS programs support the delivery of comprehensive community-based preventive social programs. Almost all 4.33 million Albertans can access an FCSS program; less than one percent of the population lives in communities without an FCSS program.
● FCSS funding allocation in 2018 was less than 0.18% of the total provincial budget.
● FCSSAA brings together FCSS programs from across the province to promote collaboration and learning. FCSSAA supports and strengthens FCSS programs through evidence-based research, common evaluation, professional development, current tools and resources, and communication and coordination.
● FCSS programs are vigilantly striving to respond to community needs despite tight times.
● Research has shown that for every $1 invested in preventive services, $7 - $12 dollars in future spending is saved. Long-term spending is reduced for justice, health care, and addiction treatment.
● Preventive social programs have demonstrated across sectors and countries a positive impact on health and well-being through reducing depression and isolation, improving community cohesion and participation.
● FCSS builds community; promoting volunteerism as a method for citizens to contribute directly to their community. Across Alberta, FCSS programs report over 50,727 volunteers contributing 2,362,194 volunteer hours annually, equivalent to $35,432,910 at minimum wage.
● FCSS Programs contribute to Albertans’ economic prosperity. For instance, many communities provide a free income tax filing service through FCSS. Of the 24 programs that were surveyed, there were 5,954 tax returns filed, impacting 259 children, 266 seniors, and 2,426 low income individuals. A total of $26,999,593 from just these 24 programs was brought back into Alberta communities.
● The City of Calgary currently contributes 25 per cent ($9.9 million) towards the overall FCSS Calgary budget of $39.6 million
● In 2018, over 48,000 benefitted from participating in one of the 150 programs funded by FCSS Calgary
● In 2018, over 16,000 volunteers contributed more than 750,000 hours, valued at $23 million
● Through a comprehensive evaluation system, FCSS Calgary has been able to determine its positive impact in the community in a number of areas.
The FCSS program is a vital resource in the social and economic health and wellbeing of the province which supports the Alberta Government’s vision of making life better for all Albertans.. These programs help isolated seniors access supports to keep them safely in their homes for longer; they help women and newcomers build the skills they need to participate more fully in the workforce; they help keep children and youth engaged in positive programs during crucial after school hours; and they help young families connect to resources and supports in their local community.
These ideas, these programs, these collaborations and the people behind them build community all across Alberta.