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June 19, 1998
(Human Resources and Employment)

Province unveils poster symbolizing efforts to reduce child poverty

Julie Bettney, Minister of Human Resources and Employment, and Joan Marie Aylward, Minister of Health and Community Services, unveiled a poster today designed to symbolize the province's efforts to enhance programs and services for children and families and reduce child poverty in Newfoundland and Labrador. The poster will be distributed to district offices, community agencies, regional health boards, child care centres, and other locations throughout the province.

"Children deserve to live in a healthy, happy environment," said Minister Bettney. "The hands on the poster personify the many helping hands of parents, family members, health care professionals, educators, social workers, child care providers and the numerous others who nurture and influence a child's early years." Minister Aylward said: "The quote `It takes a village to raise a child' is so true. Government's commitment to children and families through the NCB will help other groups and concerned individuals as we all work together to the benefit of our children."

The poster is part of a nation-wide launch of the National Child Benefit, which begins in July. The National Child Benefit program is a joint federal/provincial initiative aimed at reducing child poverty through enhancing programs and services to children and families. Over the next three years the federal government has committed $1.7 billion to better support low income families with children.

"This infusion of funds will enable provinces such as ours to make strategic, long term investments in services and benefits for children in low income families," said Minister Bettney. Minister Aylward added: "The prevention and early intervention programs as well as the work incentives we are putting in place this year, are essential to addressing child poverty and the social problems associated with it."

The National Child Benefit Reinvestment initiatives through the Department of Health and Community Services and the Department of Human Resources and Employment include extended drug card benefits, increased child care expense deductions, enhanced licensed child care services, additional family resource centres and regional youth service networks. In addition there are initiatives to help parents make the transition to work including an increased earnings exemption and a wage-subsidy program for single parents.

The National Child Benefit will also mean an increased federal Child Tax Benefit for many low-income and social assistance families with children. "What this means is that a family with two children will receive a National Child Benefit supplement of $84 per month. When combined with their existing child benefit, this amounts to a separate cheque each month of $250 to help them care for their children."

The ministers said it is important for government to work together with all partners to ensure the children of the province have access to all of the things that will give them a promising start in life. Both ministers said they were very optimistic about the future of programs and services available to young people in this province and they looked forward to the implementation of the National Child Benefit.

Contact: Karen Kelloway, Communications, (709) 729-4062.

1998 06 19 2:05 p.m.

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