Brantford council votes against delaying talks on merger of children's agencies

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A resolution to postpone a proposed merger of Brant Family and Children’s Services and the Children’s Aid Society of Haldimand Norfolk has failed to get support from City of Brantford councillors.

Councillors voted 6-5 against a resolution that called for a halt to merger talks until a “comprehensive community and stakeholder consultation” is done “to determine potential impacts on local children and families in Brantford and the County of Brant.”

Sally Johnson, executive director of the Brant FACS, who spoke at the Dec. 1 virtual meeting of council’s operations and administration meeting, said public input will be part of the process.

“It continues to be very early days,” said Johnson, adding that the first meeting with a consulting group to explore the feasibility of an amalgamation between the two children’s organizations was just held Monday.

Johnson said she had already provided updates on the process to Brantford Mayor Kevin Davis and Brant Mayor David Bailey and has a meeting set with Brantford-Brant MPP Will Bouma later in the week.

Brant FACS and the Children’s Aid Society of Haldimand Norfolk announced in late January they had begun merger discussions. Those talks were stalled when the pandemic was declared in March.

Coun. Richard Carpenter, who put forward the resolution, said he fears the Brantford office of the Brant FACS could be moved out of the city and make access more difficult for clients. He also said the resignation in July 2019 of the agency’s entire board of directors has “limited the capacity of the agency to customize solutions that respond to the unique social and economic needs” in the city and county.

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