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

Just Posted

North Saanich Fire Department wins national Movember challenge

Team raises more than urban Edmonton, Toronto firefighters

Province launches lawsuit over Esquimalt sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after being dropped from marine lift in 2018

Saanich police first in B.C. to offer mental health resiliency training

Departments from Oak Bay, Saanich, Central Saanich complete trauma training class

Peninsula Panthers jump into first place with win over arch-rivals Victoria Cougars

Cougars beat the Panthers in all three previous games before Sunday’s 2-1 victory

Crash backs up northbound lanes of Pat Bay Highway

Drive BC warns of heavy congestion along busy route

VIDEO: Kenney lays out key demands for meeting with Trudeau

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney aims for clear signs of federal action on two-day Ottawa trip

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

Chilliwack family’s therapy dog injured in hit and run

Miniature pit bull Fifty’s owner is a single mother facing close to $10,000 in vet bills

Cougar destroyed in Penticton area after mauling dog, killing cat

This is the first reported incident with a cougar this year in the Penticton area

Feds not enforcing standards on Hungarian duck imports, B.C. farmer says

‘You have no way of knowing what’s in the bag’

No reports yet of Canadians affected by New Zealand volcano eruption, feds say

Missing and injured included tourists from the U.S., China, Australia, Britain and Malaysia

Vancouver Island blues musician’s mother’s home burglarized and ransacked

David Gogo’s 71-year-old mother has jewelry and artwork stolen in break-in

Dance cancelled after Alberta teacher’s climate lesson prompts online threats

School district near Red Deer cancelled annual family dance due to Facebook comments

Most Read