City of Red Deer logo. (Advocate file photo)

City of Red Deer logo. (Advocate file photo)

Child and youth programs in Red Deer region get $2.47 M from FCSS

Focus is on programs for good mental health, family connections and development

Almost $2.5 million in annual funding was awarded over the next three years to Central Alberta programs focusing on positive child and youth development, mental health, strong neighbourhoods and communities, and strong family connections.

Twenty-two regional programs were chosen by the Red Deer and District FCSS Board to receive a total of $2.47 million in annual funding for Jan. 1, 2024, to Dec. 31, 2026. These are offered within the local FCSS region, which includes Red Deer, Red Deer County, Bowden, Penhold, Delburne and Elnora.

“This funding really focuses on current priorities in our communities,” said Milt Williams, Red Deer and District FCSS Board chair. “Alberta’s FCSS program is unique in Canada in the freedom it gives to local communities to decide what needs matter to them. We are so grateful to the many stakeholders who informed the process, and the many applicants who applied for funding.”

Programs for preschool-aged children are on the list since investing in young families and children can foster positive early childhood development, improve school readiness and strengthen family connections. Williams said, “By being proactive we can reduce the chance of crisis occurring or minimize its impact. These efforts are key to mitigating instances of domestic violence, crime, addictions and homelessness.”

Supports for children and youth, family counselling and outreach for seniors were also among the programs selected, along with assistance for immigrant youth and Indigenous-led initiatives.

The mandate of Red Deer and District FCSS is to provide preventive social programs that enhances the social well-being of individuals and families. Provincial funding (80 per cent) is matched with municipal tax dollars (20 per cent).

Criteria for the selected programs considered as agency’s leadership, willingness to collaborate, and financial accountability.

Among the programs that received some funds are counsellors, community liaison workers and a wellness progam at Red Deer Public and Catholic school districts and Chinook’s Edge schools. A complete list of funded projects is available on The City’s website.

Thirty-two applications for a total of $4.22 million in funding were received — $1.79 million more than was available for this funding cycle.

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