Population growth on West Shore strains wait lists for family services

Funding not keeping pace with demand at Pacific Family Services Association

Rick Stiebel

News Staff

The population boom on the West Shore is significantly impacting the time it takes to reach youth and families searching for support, said Jennifer Munro, clinical director for Pacific Centre Family Services Association.

“We’ve always had waiting lists, but they are increasing faster than we can handle. They’ve increased dramatically, even in the past six months,” Munro said. “It’s critical at this time.”

A staff of 30 at PCFSA, which includes 25 counsellors, provide support, services and programs with a trauma-informed focus for individuals, youth, couples and families dealing with a wide range of issues. “That includes increased effort to support Indigenous people in our community,” Munro noted.

“Wait times for many programs are from six to seven months, significantly higher than just two years ago,” she said. “From 2017 into 2018 is where we really saw the wait times increase. The rapid increase in population on the West Shore is definitely a major factor.”

PCFSA deals with about 1,500 people a year, with close to half involving support for youth and families.

READ ALSO: Pacific Centre Family Services Association a winning design in Colwood

The complexity of issues that are dealt with now compared to the past is another contributing factor, she added.

While funding for PCFSA comes from many sources, including municipalities and corporate donations, the majority comes from the provincial government through the Ministry of Children and Family Development and the Ministry of Public Safety and the Solicitor General.

Funding is significantly impacted by the increase in population, noted Munro and Mia Golden, co-ordinator of Crime Reduction and Exploitation Diversion for PCFSA. “Funding isn’t keeping pace with the explosive growth on the West Shore to meet the needs of the families and youth that we assist.”

Youth Talk, an innovative program which has provided online counselling for youth across Canada for the past five years, is a casualty of funding cuts, Golden said. “It helped kids from across the country who, for a variety of reasons, were not willing to access face-to-face counselling. We never envisioned that kind of demand locally and nationally from youth dealing with very serious issues, including suicide and sexual abuse.”

For more information on the PCFSA and programs provided, visit pacificcentrefamilyservices.org.

rick.stiebel@goldstreamgazette.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sidney’s Star Cinema looks to reel in audience with reopening

It’s lights, camera, action — again — for Sidney’s Star Cinema in… Continue reading

No swimming or skating at Juan de Fuca rec centre for now

The Q Centre to reopen starting on July 13

Unemployment surpasses historic high in Greater Victoria, tourism hit hard

Hospitality and tourism sectors hurting as pandemic continues

Victoria tattoo shops respond to sex assault allegations against male artists

Carne Tattoo and Painted Lotus Studios respond to allegations

Mayor not in favour of low barrier housing at Oak Bay Lodge

Process is already in place to determine future of Oak Bay Lodge

VIDEO: Langford cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 7

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Would you get a vaccine for COVID-19 when it is available?

With the number of positive COVID-19 tests skyrocketing across much of the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Vancouver Island business ad unintentionally features OK gesture linked to white supremacy

Innocuous ‘OK’ gesture in cleaning franchise advertisement gets flak on social media for ‘supposedly’ promoting white supremacy

Comox Valley RCMP looking for missing woman

Ami Guthrie was last seen in Courtenay in early July

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Most Read