Former employees allege mismanagement of Sask. women's organization
REGINA -- A group of former employees from the Raising Hope program are calling on the Street Workers Advocacy Project (SWAP) to answer their questions and concerns, alleging the program is being mismanaged.
Maddie Sanderson and Cheryl Deschene said they both worked within the program, which is run by SWAP.
Raising Hope provides housing and programming to women who struggle with addiction and have children in their care or are at risk of having their children taken away.
Sanderson and Deschene, along with two other former employees of the program, said new leadership is not abiding by the program’s key pillars.
“Our calls to action that we have been asking for since the very beginning, is an independent impartial third-party investigation into the collapse of the program pillars, because that is what the funding is based on,” Cheryl Deschene, a former Program Facilitator at Raising Hope, said.
The former employees are asking for a financial audit of the provincially-funded program, since the SWAP building has been closed for the past ten months.
“There's a significant amount of funding made available to these organizations. I've had staff members tell me they couldn't even get cupcakes at Raising Hope to celebrate with the women for some of their milestones,” Deschene said.
The women said their concerns have gone unanswered and they worry that the women who utilize these programs may fall victim to relapsing.
“My fear is that we're going to lose more women and it’s hurting me. My heart is hurt. I know one of the women overdosed,” Maddie Sanderson, former cultural liaison at Raising Hope, said. “It's so easy for them to go back to that because if you take away their children. You lose hope.”
CTV News reached out to SWAP for comment but has not heard back.
The Ministry of Social Services said it has contracts with SWAP to provide services and supports to vulnerable families in the Regina area.
“The board has been keeping our ministry updated on their plans to engage an independent third party to conduct a thorough review of Raising Hope moving families forward operations and programming. We will remain in regular contact to ensure the families in the program continue to be supported,” Mitch Tremblay, child and family programs executive director with the Ministry of Social Services, said in a statement.
The former employees said they hope their concerns will bring about change for the women who need this program.
“I don't want that program to go away. I don't, I just want it so that the people that are running it recognize that there's obviously stuff going on that should be corrected. And there should be Indigenous people in there, providing the services that are needed for the women,” Sanderson said.