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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Financing child care and preventive services : an analysis of the per-diem formula and assisted financing as applied to the Catholic Children's Aid Society, Vancouver. Kellerman, William Mathias

Abstract

The financing of child welfare services is not widely understood. It is commonly known that "the government" provides services in rural areas, but the division of costs between the provincial government and municipalities, and the organization to provide necessary services has not been the subject of definitive research. The financing of services which are provided by the children's aid societies is also not well understood, nor the legislative basis upon which services are provided. Child welfare services have two aims; to prevent the neglect of children and strengthen families so that they will remain together, and to provide good substitute care for children when they cannot remain in their own homes. These services are provided by a combination of provincial, municipal and private agency administration, in British Columbia. Child welfare services were begun in British Columbia by private agencies. As population and needs developed, legislation was passed, which provided that the care of wards who had been committed by court, would be provided for through public funds. While all child welfare services are provided for through public funds in most areas in the province, preventive casework services have continued to be provided by private, or voluntary funds in Victoria and Vancouver, through the children's aid societies. In recent years the societies have reviewed the present arrangement for providing services, including the need for additional public support for preventive services. At the same time questions were being raised about the continuing use of private funds, to support work which is being financed elsewhere in the province by public funds. The position of the private agencies is that a "mixed system" of providing services offers strength to the entire child welfare programme, and that private agencies with community support can continue to make a valuable contribution in maintaining standards of service. The present study first sketches in the background of the development of financial responsibility for children in ward care. The formula for reimbursement, known as the per capita per diem rate, is then analysed in budget terms (e.g. maintenance for children, clothing, health care, etc.) to show what has been provided for children in care of the Catholic Children's Aid Society, in a typical recent year (1957). The per capita per diem rate for maintaining children in care, is the average cost of maintaining and supervising a child in care for a year, and is a clear cut administrative device in that reimbursement for service is calculated on the actual number of days care provided for children. An important part of the analysis is the clarification of the distinction between (a) maintenance reimbursement, and (b) the cost of preventive service. Other methods, or formulae, are referred to in the study. The relevant statistics of Catholic Children's Aid Society operations (to which this thesis is specificall limited) are assembled for a period of years. Some of the questions of financial responsibility under present legislation for the various services provided are thereby clarified. The study shows that the provision of ward care for children under the supervision of children's aid societies has been soundly financed through the present per diem formula. The questions and issues which have been raised about the continuing support of services by the Community Chest are reviewed. The approach taken is that the provision of funds should not be the main criteria for deciding the best continuing method of providing preventive services in Vancouver. The conclusion is that additional public funds could be provided to the private agencies, and that a formula should be established to do so, if this is to be done.

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