The following statement was issued today by Julie Bettney, Minister of Human Resources and Employment. It was also read in the House of Assembly:
I am happy to rise before the House today to give an update on the Department of Human Resources and Employment's Single Parent Employment Support Program.
As you may recall, the Single Parent Employment Support Program is a joint initiative between the Department of Human Resources and Employment and the Single Parent Association of Newfoundland and Labrador. The pilot program helps single parents on income support obtain full time employment and work toward becoming financially independent.
When the department began this pilot in the fall of 1998 we promised to keep everyone updated on the success of the program. The early results are very exciting. In just one year, 124 single parents completed the classroom and job search components of the program. Seventy-nine of these participants are employed in either full or part time employment. That is 64 per cent of participants who are now employed. In addition, six of these participants have completely eliminated their reliance on income support and an additional two participants are close to self-reliance.
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is committed to addressing the issue of child poverty and promoting a healthy and productive lifestyle for all families in the province. The Single Parent Employment Support Program has proven to be an asset in addressing issues and concerns that are unique to single parent families. The project's success is due to important community partnerships that offer resources which meet the needs of today's family.
These resources include regular income support throughout the six week program, child care allowance, extended drug card coverage and an earned income supplement. All these components help single parents discover they are truly better off when they become less reliant on income support. It is also important to point out that these program components would not be possible if it were not for the combined resources of the Department of Human Resources and Employment and the Single Parent Association. This is a great indication that community partnerships really do work.
The next task for this project is to consider how we may expand the program. The Single Parent Association is currently preparing an overall evaluation of the pilot. This evaluation will inform all community partners on the applicability of the pilot program model to other geographic localities, other client groups and other sponsoring agencies. The evaluation will also include cost-benefit analysis of the current program, as well as examine the potential implications of program expansion.
We are all very proud of the accomplishments we and our clients have made with the Single Parent Employment Supports Program. I have shared various statistics and details about what the program offers. However, the true success of the program can be demonstrated in the feedback we have received from various participants. When a client says a program has improved and changed her life forever it is a solid indication that government along with community support is moving in the right direction in supporting families in Newfoundland and Labrador.
I'm sure all members of the House of Assembly will share in my continued excitement over the Single Parent Employment Supports Program. I look forward to keeping everyone updated on future accomplishments.
1999 11 30 2:20 p.m.