The Alberta Government has begun evaluating proposals submitted for Family Resource Network (FRN) funding, including those from the Western Rocky View Family & Community Resource Centre, and the Parent Link Centre.

Applicants will be notified of their submission acceptance status in mid-March before current contracts and grants end on Mar. 31.

Evaluation teams are following a standard scoring criteria in their analysis of almost 400 proposals submitted by proponents across Alberta totaling more than $240 million. 

"We are in a strong position to develop a network of high-quality services that make it easier and more efficient for Albertans to get the support they need," states Children’s Services minister Rebecca Schulz.

The proposals will be assessed based on organizational capacity, partnerships, and collaboration, delivery plans, proposed budget and alignment to essential frameworks.

The evaluation will be followed by a program development process, which will help determine service delivery structures in each of the network areas across Alberta.

As evaluation and negotiations progress, some communities may begin to see changes. However, the Children's Services ministry states it will not negotiate in public. When networks are ready to launch in April, communities across Alberta will be informed through government announcements with successful grant recipients.

Exactly how many organizations have applied for funding through the FCN for Cochrane hasn't been released. The door is open to receive applications from beyond those organizations currently receiving funding here.

The concern here in Cochrane has largely centred upon ensuring the town is considered mid-sized, not a small community.

The difference in the funding level is significant, according to Cochrane Mayor Jeff Genung. He says those classified as small can receive $500,000. It's $750,000 for mid-size.

MLA Peter Guthrie has joined with the town and FCSS in advocating for Cochrane to be considered mid-sized. He says he has been checking regularly with the Children's Services ministry on Cochrane's status.

"I'll continue to seek that out, but no decision has been made," he says.

Guthrie believes there is a lot of misinformation being spread and the uncertainty it creates can breed fear.

"One nice thing is the department will be a lot more organized going forward and they'll be more certainty in programming and funding."