Province Announces Early Childhood Funding
COMMUNITY SERVICES--Province Announces Early Childhood Funding Details
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.
jrh November 27, 2001 10:21 A.M.