Each spring brings change, and we know that it will be no different in 2015. While change can be challenging, it brings renascence, optimism and momentum as we move through a new year. At LCDS, we have much to be optimistic about and thankful for! We continue to offer quality supports to people in our services, some for 30 years and more, and also to new people seeking innovative support options. We continue to expand our services throughout Lambton County and have strong involvement and support from family stakeholders. Our employment opportunities and staff base continue to grow and we have strong support and guidance from our Board of Directors and Foundation Board. The dedication of all volunteers and employees is second to none!
Only in recognizing all of these positive accomplishments, can we go into our new budget year with optimism and excitement! At all levels in LCDS, we recognize that the future in Developmental Services will look and operate differently than it has in the past. We know that the Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) will have new accountability and documenting processes and we will align our systems to ensure that MCSS has any and all information that they need when they need it. LCDS has a solid reputation of being good stewards of public funding and strong resources to meet the new requirements of MCSS and all other Ministries that we now report to: Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Health and the Ontario Fire Marshall’s Office. LCDS has a committed and dedicated employee base which continues to offer outstanding supports seven days a week to those that they serve. After almost five years of no increased funding, MCSS has allocated two years of wage enhancement in a recent Service Capacity Investment. This increase is long overdue for these very patient and loyal employees. However, there are no foreseeable cost of living increases to assist our base budgets, or new dollars to address our aging homes and vehicles. We will continue to be creative, “flexible and nimble” as the Ministry recommends, while reminding them of the struggles we are facing and advocating for these much needed increases. There are many examples of where we have been and continue to be proactive: accreditation, social enterprises, affordable housing, physical adaptations to existing accommodations, out of town supports, shared supports, highly successful fundraising endeavors….and the list goes on.
As we celebrate our 60th anniversary this year, take the time to reflect on the amazing agency that was created by seven loving and devoted families in 1955 who simply wanted more for their children. We are confident that they would be very proud of how LCDS has evolved and what has been accomplished over these six decades!