Edmonton — “As kids, parents and teachers alike are looking forward to summer holidays, many of them are just becoming aware of drastic changes that are ahead because of Kenney’s cut of the health program for kids in their school,” says Mike Parker, President of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA). These are cuts to the Regional Collaborative Service Delivery or RCSD program.
“Wrap around programs that are intended to help students with their unique and complex needs are being downloaded onto individual school boards,” Parker adds. “And because of massive funding cuts to school boards, these important services will not be available in many cases.
“This means families will need to access private providers, if they are able. In many cases, that will mean that those without private insurance will not be able to afford the supports their kids will need to be successful.”
According to the Government of Alberta’s published information, the Regional Collaborative Service Delivery (RCSD) program is an approach to more effectively meet the learning needs of children and youth and to support their well-being. Its purpose is to support regions in providing streamlined, co-ordinated and enhanced access to supports and services for children and youth to be successful in school and in their community. The goal is to ensure that children and youth have access to the right supports at the right time.
Cutting RCSD means the end of mental health supports, speech-language therapy and occupational therapy for blind, deaf, deafblind and children with complex communication needs — complex needs requiring significant extraordinary care.
HSAA represents over 300 health professionals who provide this service for thousands of Alberta’s elementary and high school students who rely on this program.
“This cut is part of Kenney’s systematic privatization of public health-care services in Alberta,” added Parker. “This week, they’ve moved ahead with the privatization of our public medical labs and now are stripping away supports for children and youth.
“It makes us wonder what’s coming next.”
HSAA is nearly 28,000 health-care professionals dedicated to protecting the public health system and the vulnerable Albertans who rely on it.
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Kirk Heuser, HSAA Communications Officer
780-690-8199 | firstname.lastname@example.org