Alberta Supports changing the face of social programs

A pilot project that was tested in Red Deer is now moving to the next steps in order to help Central Albertans seek the help they need.

Mary Anne Jablonski, MLA for Red Deer North along with Cal Dallas, MLA for Red Deer South announced the success of a pilot project and the moving forward with the program during a press conference at the Provincial Building in downtown Red Deer Tuesday morning.

The pilot project was directed towards people with disabilities and the transition between programs once they turned 18.

Before the pilot program, parents or guardians would be put on a waiting list or go through a number of different agencies before getting the help they needed, but now with this pilot program, which was tested among 23 families, people can get the help they need through Alberta Supports.

Alberta Supports is a province-wide initiative that provides the needed information on all social programs with just one call.

“This program is designed to make life better for our families and seniors who need support,” said Jablonski. “A lot of the times people will come to the door and say we need help so they tell us their story and then we need to send them to another department where they tell their story all over again and we don’t want that to happen any more.”

Jablonski said the purpose of Alberta Supports is to have all social programs under one umbrella so people can just make one call and they get the help they need.

“We don’t want to send people from department to department any more. It’s frustrating enough having a child with disabilities and we want to make it an experience that is successful not one that is full of anxiety and stress,” said Jablonski.

There were about five different departments originally in the pilot program with 34 programs and 102 sub-programs that needed to be kept track of.

“The idea is to have our people trained so that when someone asks for help we can surround them with the services and support they need the first time and it just makes life more easier,” said Jablonksi. “It’s a vision of making support client centered rather than program centered.”

Eventually Alberta Supports will be province-wide and those who require assistance will be able to call one line in order to get the help they need.

Alberta Supports is already available online and by phone and soon Red Deer will have its own centre.

“Before individuals had to have knowledge of all the programs. If they didn’t know about a specific program they might have been missing out,” said Jablonski.

“We are trying to make it easier to get the information you need to have a more successful life.”

The vision of Alberta Supports is to be able to get the supports to a client right away and get all the needs looked after in one stop.

“That’s the point of all this is to get people on their feet, to be successful and have a really good quality of life,” said Jablonski.

If you would like more information on Alberta Supports visit www.albertasupports.ca or if you need assistance in finding a social program phone 1-877-644-9992.

tsigurdson@reddeerexpress.com

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