News release

Budget Bulletin: Children and Families

Improved Support for Children and Families

  • $9.1 million for Early Childhood Development Program.
  • Nova Scotia Child Benefit increases.
  • $3 million to support children with special needs.

Nova Scotia is increasing its commitment to help children get the best possible start in life.

To support new parents and young children, $9.1 million will be invested to create the Early Childhood Development Program. This program will include a comprehensive home visiting program for expecting and new mothers -- in their homes, in the hospital, and back in their communities. Over four years, this program will also help create new nursing positions and "lay" visitor positions to support the new mother and her family as much as possible.

Government also recognizes the need for enhanced child-care services and will provide start-up grants for non-profit child care centres and new grants to increase salaries to retain and recruit competent, caring staff to look after our children.

Addressing child poverty is also a top priority for government. Beginning in July 2001, the Nova Scotia Child Benefit (NSCB) will increase and, combined with the National Child Benefit, will provide a standard benefit of $1,700 per year to all children in low-income families. The combined standard benefit will replace children’s personal allowances in social assistance budgets. This restructuring of rates will eliminate future clawbacks of the NCB from social assistance recipients. Also, because it is now indexed to the cost of living, families receiving social assistance can look forward to annual increases.

Community Services’ budget also includes taking on an additional $11 million in social assistance costs from municipalities as part of the municipal-provincial agreement signed in 1998. This is year four of a five-year plan for the province to assume the full $44-million cost of social services.

Children of all ages have different needs. Approximately 17 per cent of school-aged children receive some form of special help. This budget continues to support children with special needs with an additional $3 million to improve programs and services. Funding will help build a comprehensive special education system that provides a more consistent and accessible level of service province-wide. As well, professional development support for teachers and others in the education system will assist them in specialized planning and supports for students with special needs.

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Contacts:

Michelle Whelan
Community Services 902-424-4326 E-mail:
Lynne Godlien
Department of Education 902-424-8286 E-mail:

NOTE: For other 2001-02 budget information, visit the Department of Finance Web site at www.gov.ns.ca/finance .

kjd            March 29, 2001      2:49 P.M.