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Children’s Aid Society for the Districts of Sudbury and Manitoulin says it’s running on a deficit.

Children’s aid societies in northeastern Ontario say they are in crisis as the sector faces funding cuts across the province.

“We’re in a foster care crisis at the moment,” said Gisèle Hébert, executive director of the Children’s Aid Society of the District of Nipissing and Parry Sound.

Hébert said there are currently no spots available for children in licensed and unlicensed homes.

“If we had to remove a child or children from a home, we have nowhere to put them at the moment,” she said.

“We have no baby homes. We have no homes for any age at this point.”

In her 38 years working in the sector, she said she has never seen a situation so bad.

Hébert said when the province licences a home for foster children it sets a per diem to house the child, but that amount can change from one week to the next.

“So for example, last week the per diem was $300 a day and the next morning it was $900 a day,” she said.

Hébert said her children’s aid society spent $37,000 to house one particular child for a month, because they were abused in one home and had to send them somewhere else, where they would be safe.

Elaina Groves, CEO of the Children’s Aid Society for the Districts of Sudbury and Manitoulin, said they have had to operate at a deficit to keep offering their services for children.

She said their funding is decreasing by $500,000 every year.

“With the ongoing reductions in our funding we’re having to do the same job but do it with less,” Groves said.

But she said any changes they could make to reduce costs would affect services.

“So it’s for that reason that we are submitting deficit budgets, although we’re not supposed to,” Groves said.

To help keep costs in check, Groves said the Children’s Aid Society has a moratorium on overtime. 

“The reality is that we are as all of us in the north say, we are underfunded. That is the simple reality,” she said.

CBC requested comment from the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, but were told they are not available to speak.