Alberta Family Support For Children With Disabilities (FSCD) Program

Alberta Family Support For Children With Disabilities (FSCD) Program

Written by Chrissy Kapralos
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated November 3, 2021

Over 3.5 million people in Canada live with at least one disability. Approximately 350,000 of those Canadians live in Alberta. Despite the struggles people with disabilities face, they are able to access support from the government to assist them in finding work, accessing health care and financial support when needed.

Children with disabilities often require significant assistance from their parents and community to become independent and actively participate in the community. All parents face ups and downs with raising children, but parents with children with disabilities face unique challenges. 

Luckily, the Canadian government, as well as provincial governments like the Government of Alberta, offer support for parents with children with disabilities. The Federal government offers the Child Disability Benefit (CDB), which is a tax-free monthly payment for parents raising children with disabilities. 

Family Support For Children With Disabilities (FSCD) Program Explained

The Government of Alberta runs the Family Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD) Program for parents raising children with disabilities. The program gives eligible parents funding for support and services to assist in raising their children in a healthy manner. 

What Does The Family Support For Children With Disabilities (FSCD) Program Offer?

Specifically, the FSCD Program offers support and services to assists parents with the following:

  • Promoting the healthy development of the child
  • Encouraging the child to actively participate in at-home and community activities
  • Maintaining guardianship and making responsible decisions for the child until they are 18
  • Expensive costs of raising a child with a disability. 

Some examples of the services and supports offered by the FSCD Program include:

  • Counselling
  • Resources for government programs
  • Coordination assistance in accessing support
  • Financial support to purchase clothing and footwear and to attend medical appointments, and purchase medication
  • Respite services
  • Services of aides who provide personal care and support
  • Temporary living costs
  • Assistance in planning for a child’s transition during times of change

The FSCD program also offers an Individualized Family Support Plan. An FSCD worker first conducts a needs assessment to understand a child’s needs and their disability’s impact on the family. The worker will then take information from the assessment to work with you in creating an Individualized Family Support Plan. This plan is tailored based on:

  • Your child’s and family’s strengths, needs, and priorities
  • Short and long-term goals
  • Strategies, responsibilities, and commitments to reach those goals

If your child requires more specialized support, the FSCD program can accommodate that as well. To qualify for specialized services, your child must:

  • Have a severe disability that drastically limits their ability to function in day-to-day life
  • Have critical service needs in two or more of these areas: 
    • Behaviour
    • Communication and social skills
    • Physical abilities
    • Cognitive abilities
    • Self-help skills
    • Adaptive functioning 

If you qualify, a specialized services team will directly work with you and your children to create an individualized plan accounting for your child and family’s strengths, needs, time, priorities, culture and values. 

Eligibility For The Family Support For Children With Disabilities (FSCD) Program 

Parents who wish to access the FSCD Program must meet the following criteria:

Age And Residency Criteria:

  • Child is under 18 years old
  • Child is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • Applicant must be the child’s parent or guardian
  • Child resides in Alberta

Disability Criteria

  • Medical diagnosis of a disability due to developmental, physical, sensory, mental or neurological condition/impairment, and/or
  • Health condition impacts the child’s day-to-day activities

Check this out to learn more about the Alberta Seniors Benefit.

How To Apply For The Family Support For Children With Disabilities (FSCD) Program

The FSCD Program has a 3-step application process.

1. Fill Out The Online Application

You’ll need to create an account on MyAlbertaSupports. Make sure you review the eligibility criteria before applying. 

2. Gather Your Medical Documents

Documentation must be written by or on behalf of a psychiatrist, physician, occupational therapist, speech and language pathologist, audiologist, clinical social worker, or psychologist

The documentation must also contain the child’s name and date of birth, diagnosis and related information, and the name of the health professional who made the diagnosis. 

3. Submit Your Application

You can email, mail, or drop off your application at the nearest FSCD office. It’s wise to make copies of your documentation and application for your own records. 

An FSCD worker will inform you of your application result within 2 weeks, or request more information. If your application is rejected, the FSCD worker will give you more information about any additional support that might help your situation. If your application is accepted, the FSCD worker will discuss the next steps, as well as describe the kinds of support you’re eligible for. 

Learn more about social assistance in Alberta.

Final Thoughts

Raising a child with a disability can be overwhelming, difficult, and stressful, as parents with children with disabilities face unique challenges. However, programs like Alberta’s FSCD program offer support. Make sure you check out the government of Alberta’s website or get in touch with the FSCD directly for more information. 

Rating of 5/5 based on 1 vote.

Chrissy is a Toronto-based communications advisor. With an English degree from the University of Toronto and editing courses under her belt from Ryerson University, she has continued her lifelong passion for writing and editing. In addition to working for Loans Canada on a variety of financial topics, Chrissy has a few years of resume writing and editing under her belt, and takes great pleasure in helping people find work that fits with their experience and passions. When she isn't working, you can find her practicing yoga, hanging out with her dog, reading up on financial and real estate news, or planning her next trip abroad.

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