B.C. call for proposals on developing early intervention program for Nechako Lakes children

B.C. call for proposals on developing early intervention program for Nechako Lakes children

The Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) is seeking proposals from proponents to develop and deliver Early Intervention Services/School-Aged Therapy within the entire Nechako Lakes Area, including the communities of Burns Lake, Southside, Granisle, Fraser Lake, Vanderhoof and Fort St James. The Early Intervention Therapy (EIT) Program provides community-based occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech-language pathology and family support services for eligible children and their families and communities.

The target population for Early Intervention Services (EIS) is: children from birth to school age who have suspected or identified developmental delays and/or disabilities. The target population for School-Aged Therapy is children of school age who have suspected or identified developmental delays or disabilities.

Recognizing the importance of the early years, the primary goal of the Early Intervention Therapy (EIT) Program is to optimize the growth and development of children from birth to school entry who have, or are at risk for, a developmental delay and/or disability.

With the fear of services being lost, there has been misinformation that tries to portray Early Childhood development services as disappearing. While such tactics have raised political awareness, it is incumbent on the Ministry and Agencies to work together to maximize benefits to those the services will benefit.

Carrier Sekani Family Services is supportive of the decision of the College of New Caledonia to shift its focus from direct service delivery back to education. Warner Adam, CEO of Carrier Sekani Family Services notes “the plan to enable agencies best positioned to focus on direct service delivery means enhanced service; not a reduction as has been suggested in some community meetings. We applaud CNC for concentrating on its education mandate and preparing a diverse work force for the Burns Lake region.” Adam continues, “CSFS does not run “cost recovery” programs. We maximize funding to direct service delivery, and already have established programs running in Vanderhoof that can be replicated in Burns Lake. Carrier Sekani Family Services (CSFS) has for sometime recognized the need for increased Early Childhood Development services (ECD) and has repeatedly approached the Ministry of Children and Family Services (MCFD) about providing such needed services to the communities in the Burns Lake area.

There are philosophical differences in the manner organizations believe services should be provided. CSFS believes in order to improve access services should be delivered where people reside rather than a hub that people must travel to. As noted by Chief Wilf Adam of the Lake Babine Nation “a lot of the people who need these services the most live in poverty and having services where they are and provided by community people is most effective.” CSFS also argues community funding must stay in community, CSFS supports qualified local professionals to deliver the services.

In response to an invite to come to northern BC and meet with the community before the New Year Deputy Minister Mark Sieben indicated the Minister is required to be in Victoria and neither he nor Minister Cadieux will come to the north. Warner Adam states, “research indicates the importance of Early Childhood as a foundation for success. It is disrespectful that Victoria places such little emphasis on the future of citizens in the north, all the while planning for how it can extract the resources from underneath those citizens.” This invite is on the heels of Burns Lake Mayor Luke Strimbold arguing that decision making outside of community must change.

 

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