Parkland CLASS (Community Living and Supports Society) was registered as a Canadian charity and incorporated as a not-for-profit society in May 1963. At that time the society had 6 member families and focused on education for special needs children.
Over the next 25 years, the society slowly expanded its services to include advocacy, in-home support, and respite care for families. In 1988 Parkland CLASS had 45 staff and supported approximately 42 families through the above-mentioned services.
After 1988, the agency became significantly involved in deinstitutionalization for adults with developmental disabilities. With support from various federal and provincial housing programs, an aggressive accessible housing program was pursued, facilitating a large movement of individuals from institutional services to community living. Over the following two decades, Parkland CLASS constructed over 25 community group homes in Red Deer and surrounding communities.
Today, Parkland CLASS is one of the largest providers of special needs accessible housing in the Province of Alberta. In addition to the support provided through almost forty community homes serving children and adults, the agency delivers a variety of community-based programs; family supports, independent living supports; recreational and social activities, foster care for children and dependent adults, special education, and respite care.
While the majority of these services are delivered in the Central Alberta geographic area, the agency has expanded to the delivery of supports and outreach training in the western Arctic. On an international scale, Parkland CLASS has developed a number of partnerships with disability-based organizations in Argentina and Peru, successfully developing a variety of educational, parent support, and self-advocacy initiatives.
With dedication and a commitment to quality service, over 700 employees and foster caregivers work together within Parkland Community Living and Supports Society, providing support to over 450 children, adults and families.