Ontario’s Family Councils’ Program, now Family Councils Ontario, began as a project in response to a need identified by Concerned Friends of Ontario Citizens in Care Facilities. Families, as primary caregivers were asking for support and information on a broad range of topics once their family member became a resident of a Long-Term Care Home.
Increasing numbers of residents have some form of dementia, and are unable to participate meaningfully in Residents' Councils and speak for themselves, this shift in the Long-Term Care population underscored the need to develop autonomous Family Councils where families could come together and discuss their challenges and find support for their changing care giver role and explore ways to improve the life of residents living in Long-Term Care Homes.
Family Councils' Program has operated as a program of The Self Help Resource Center since its inception. The program has grown from a pilot project funded by an Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant in 1998 into a program funded by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC) since 2004. In January 2015, the program launched into independence as Family Councils of Ontario, a registered non-profit provincial organization.
Today, Family Councils Ontario works with over 500 Family Councils and 2500 Family Council members and Staff Assistants across Ontario. We have established strong collaborative relationships with community and government stakeholders. We are continually sought out for advice and input by stakeholders within the Long-Term Care setting, sitting on various committees at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Health Quality Ontario, and a variety of related committees and research projects. We regularly problem solve with the Long-Term Care associations (Ontario Long-Term Care Association and the Ontario Association of Non-profit Home and Services for Seniors) and the MOHLTC on matters brought forward to us by families. We endeavour to bring the many voices of families to each table we sit at and continually seek input and advice from Councils across the province.
In 2010, we celebrated the first ever Family Council Day that has now grown into Family Council Week, an annual week-long celebration of the enormous contribution Family Councils make to Long-Term Care.
Family Councils Ontario offers support to Councils through our many educational events, consultations, resources and conferences. Please spend some time on this site and see how FCO can be a resource for you and your Council. Family Councils in Ontario are an important strong voice that can help improve the quality of life for those living in Long-Term Care.