FACS Niagara Community Service Update

It’s a milestone no one wanted to reach. The team at Family and Children’s Services (FACS) Niagara is reflecting on one year of providing essential services to the community under the new normal of the pandemic.

“We recognize how difficult this year has been on our community and are grateful for all the healthcare workers and essential service workers who continue to support Niagara under challenging circumstances,” said Anna Bozza, Executive Director of FACS Niagara.

“I am incredibly proud of the FACS Niagara team who adapted quickly to the realities of the pandemic to find new and creative ways to ensure we are supporting families and children in the region during this time of need,” added Bozza.

FACS Niagara is a multi-service agency providing a wide range of programs to protect children and strengthen families in the region. Services offered include child welfare, counselling, fostering, and adoption.

Understanding the significant impact of the pandemic on the mental health of people in the community, FACS Niagara’s Family Counselling Centre (FCC) moved quickly to offer counselling services online. The FCC continues to see increased demands for service during the pandemic. Since March 2020, the centre has booked more than 6,100 counselling sessions for clients. This represents an increase of 18 per cent over the same time frame from the previous year.

Anyone who feels they would benefit from counselling services during the pandemic is invited to call 905-937-7731, extension 3345. There is a fee subsidy program based on income and some programs and services may be offered free of charge.

In addition to counselling support and child welfare services, since March 2020, FACS teams have:

  • Finalized 36 adoptions and are supporting 40 other children through the adoption process.
  • Delivered care packages of personal protective equipment, diapers, formula, and other activities to support child development to 267 families.
  • Delivered over 150 Chromebooks and other devices to foster homes to support online learning for children and youth.
  • Served 140 youth through the New Outlooks and Beginnings program, which assists young people with the transition to independence.
  • Provided 110 children who could not attend summer camp due to safety regulations with baskets of sporting equipment and other activities that could be enjoyed safely in their neighbourhoods through the “Summer Smiles at Home” program.
  • Awarded 37 educational grants to youth in care.

FACS Niagara is also committed to the health and well-being of its team members. All staff are provided with the appropriate level of PPE to perform their roles, and are encouraged to practice all public health measures including physical distancing and regular hand cleaning. FACS has also established a Joint Wellness Committee in partnership with its CUPE local to support the team’s mental and emotional well-being.

“Those of us on the Board have never been more proud to be part of this outstanding team of professionals who have shown such great dedication to our community through these trying times,” said Shaun Adams, President of the Board of Directors.