Funding enables enhancement of early-years services

Salmon Arm and Sorrento to see additional support for children under six and their families

  • Apr. 17, 2019 12:50 p.m.

By Barb Brouwer

Contributor

There’s good news and not-so-good news for Shuswap Children’s Association clients.

The association is grateful to receive a $196,702 contract, providing $64,588 per year over three years for improvements to early years services in Salmon Arm and Sorrento.

The services are intended to support the well-being of children under six and their families, and provide easy access to early years services, including child and youth mental health and services for children with special needs.

“We are happy to have a family navigator service available to help connect families to available services in times of vulnerability,” says executive director June Stewart, noting her ongoing concern is that families needing early intervention therapies will continue to face long waitlists for service. “We are keeping the pressure on the government to increase that critical area of funding, particularly since the Shuswap is growing at such a fast pace.”

On a positive note, one of the most immediate impacts is that Motoring Munchkins, a popular parent-participation program provided by the Shuswap Recreation Society at the SASCU Recreation Centre from 10 a.m. to noon on Mondays and Wednesdays will now be free.

“That will eliminate the cost barrier for some families,” said Stewart, pointing out Silver Creek parents and children will benefit by receiving much-needed support for their drop-in playgroup. “A facilitator will be hired take over co-ordinating the program, which is offered weekly in the Silver Creek Hall.”

Plans are in the works to establish a Mother Goose program at the Neskonlith Child Care Centre, which is currently under construction.

Read more: Need outstrips funds at Shuswap Children’s Association

Read more: Provincial funds not adequate for four-year-old boy’s health needs

Read more: Children’s organizations offer mixed reviews on Budget 2019

The funding has provided for the hiring of two part-time family navigators, who will connect with the various groups and help them secure the services they need.

“Pavlina Cannon will visit the many groups and programs where families gather and be available to help connect those who may need additional services as they go through times of family challenge,” says Stewart. “Sorrento and South Shuswap also benefit from the funding with Leigh Robinson working as the local family navigator, and a variety of programs, including PJ Storytime, Mother Goose, Baby Talk, and Playgroup in the Park.”


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