Improving access and rapid response: recommendations for expansion of the walk-in counselling service at Family Service Regina

Chursinoff, Lucie
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Faculty of Social Work, University of Regina

This paper examines the possibilities of, and recommendations for, expanding the WalkIn Counselling Clinic (WICC) at Family Service Regina (FSR) within current budgetary and staffing constraints. In response to a Ministry of Social Services contract, FSR has operated a WICC one half-day per week since 2010 to improve accessibility and usage for the Ministry’s referrals and community members, including the marginalized. Data collected from Family Service Regina’s data management system demonstrated a positive societal impact; however, the WICC was underutilized. A review and expansion of the Walk-In Counselling Clinic was identified as an action plan item for the 2016-2017 funding year. The review involved a pilot project in which the WICC hours were increased to two days per week in order to collect statistics to assess the value of an expanded WICC program in Regina and formulate recommendations for further program design. Data collected clearly showed expanded hours met a community need for clients at or below the poverty line and those without Employee Assistance Programs. With increased operating hours during the pilot, client visits increased exponentially, demonstrating the need for improved accessibility. Using a conceptual framework of Appreciative Inquiry, interviews with Family Service Regina counsellors were completed to gain an understanding of practitioner perceptions about barriers to, and possibilities of, expansion of the service. Interviews with select local and national community agencies providing WICC services were also completed to gain an understanding of how similar agencies introduced and utilize their WICC as well as successes and challenges in doing so. Data analysis confirmed the need for a more robust Walk-In Counselling Clinic in this community and nine key recommendations were drafted to serve as a guideline for capacity building and future expansion of the WICC.

A Practicum Report Submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Social Work, University of Regina. vii, 10 p.
Family Service Regina, Walk-in counseling, Health services accessibility, Health care reform