Province Announces Early Childhood Funding

Department of Community Services

November 27, 2001 10:22 AM

The Department of Community Services will immediately begin
allocating $7.6 million in federal funding to improve
community-based services to young children and families and to
stabilize the licensed child-care sector in the province. A
further $1.5 million of the $9.1 million allocated for 2001 is
earmarked for a comprehensive home-visiting program now being
planned by the Department of Health for implementation at a later
date.

Governments have made a joint commitment to support families and
communities in their efforts to ensure the best possible future
for our youngest citizens. In April 2001, the government of
Canada began a five-year, $2.2 billion transfer of funds to
provincial and territorial governments.

The funds are earmarked for four areas for action set out in the
Early Childhood Development Agreement. They include:
-- promoting healthy pregnancy, birth and infancy
-- improving parenting and family supports
-- strengthening early childhood development, learning and care
-- strengthening community supports

Nova Scotia will see about $66 million. The federal funding is
part of the national Early Childhood Development Agreement
announced earlier.

"We are honouring our commitment to build a meaningful and
integrated early childhood development system for Nova Scotia,"
said Peter Christie, Minister of Community Services. "The
allocation of this funding conforms with our strategy announced
earlier this year, and follows consultation with the child-care
sector. We know that the early years of life are critical to the
development and future well-being of children."

Funding will be allocated through four separate components: Early
Childhood Development Grants, Stabilization Grants, training and
professional development and inclusion of special-needs children.

Beginning this year, $1.6 million in Early Childhood Development
Grants will provide access for parents of young children to a
system of innovative, community-based child and family supports.
These include child-care resource and referral programs, existing
part-day programs, family-home child-care, and parent education
and family support programs. Also to be funded are start-up
grants for new child-care centres and the expansion of full- and
part-day child-care spaces, including infant spaces. A total of
$22.1 million will be invested in these supports over the five
years.

Full-day child-care centres will receive stabilization grants of
$4.5 million in each year between 2001 and 2006. Centres can
apply for grants to assist in attracting and retaining quality
teaching staff. To receive funding from the stabilization grants,
child-care centres will be required to demonstrate that all
child-care staff are participating in ongoing professional
development training. Funding is retroactive to April 1, 2001.

An additional $1 million in each year will be used to expand
training and professional development for child-care staff in the
areas of early childhood education and child development.

Another $500,000 in each year will support the inclusion of
children with special needs in licensed child-care settings.

Additional and detailed information on Nova Scotia's Early
Childhood Development Strategy, including application forms and
guidelines for distribution of stabilization grants is available
on the Department of Community Services Web site at
www.gov.ns.ca/coms/files/ecd.asp .


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     The province has announced details of how 66-million dollars

of federal Early Childhood Development funding will begin to flow

to the community.

     The province will immediately begin allocating 7.6-million

dollars in federal funding to start the process of improving

supports to parents and young children.

     In the first year of a five-year program, Early Childhood

Development Grants of 1.6-million dollars will contribute to the

healthy development of children through innovative, community-

based child and family supports.

-30-

Contacts: Virginia O'Connell
         Community Services
         902-424-1876
         E-mail: oconneva@gov.ns.ca

         Steve Bone
         Community Services
         902-424-4326
         E-mail: bonesp@gov.ns.ca

jrh         November 27, 2001        10:21 A.M.