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Child, Youth and Family Services
April 24, 2012

Investing in the Safe and Healthy Development of
Children and Youth for a Secure Future

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is making investments for a secure future with a focus on the best interests of the province’s children and youth. Budget 2012: People and Prosperity – Responsible Investments for a Secure Future will invest a total of $200.5 million to enhance vital program areas, such as child care and protective intervention, throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.

“The Provincial Government remains committed to ensuring the overall safety and well-being of our children and youth,” said the Honourable Charlene Johnson, Minister of Child, Youth and Family Services. “The protection and healthy development of the children and youth of our province are paramount to the services and programs we provide. Through the investments of Budget 2012, our government will make significant enhancements to both our child care system and to our in-care protection system, all of which will greatly benefit the children and youth of the province.”

Investing in Child Care
Beginning in 2012-13, the Provincial Government will increase funding to child care, doubling its investment by 2021-22 to approximately $56 million per year under a new 10-Year Child Care Strategy. This strategy will provide a planned, systematic approach for the growth and enhancement of child care services across the province.

“Recently, stakeholder consultations were held throughout the province to further refine ideas for improving accessibility, affordability and the quality of child care for families with young children in Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Minister Johnson. “Through listening to the concerns and suggestions of parents, our government’s commitment holds strong as we move forward with the implementation of this 10-Year Child Care Strategy that will address the shortage of child care spaces and qualified early childhood educators, as well as the growing cost of child care to parents, licensees and the Provincial Government.”

Key highlights of the 10-Year Child Care Strategy will include:

  • increasing the number of regulated child care spaces throughout the province based on a local needs assessment;
  • providing operating grants to child care centre operators in areas requiring child care spaces on the condition that fees are maintained at a specific level; and,
  • implementing a number of initiatives to address the recruitment and retention of qualified early childhood educators into the child care system, such as enhancements to education supplements and improvements to the process for attainment of a Level 1 certificate through post-secondary education, workplace training and prior learning recognition.

Furthermore, the Provincial Government will continue to maintain components of the larger 10-year strategy, such as the supplementary Child Care Tax Credit and the Family Child Care Initiative, that were introduced last year.

Enhancing Foster Care
Through Budget 2012, the Provincial Government will also begin the implementation of a new long-term continuum of care strategy to enhance the care options for children and youth in need of out-of-home placement. To support this strategy, $4.1 million will be invested this year, increasing to $14.3 million next year.

“The primary focus of these enhancements is a new four-level care system, which is linked to the skill levels required and has accompanying monetary increases for foster parents that recognize their commitment,” said Minister Johnson. “The Provincial Government is also streamlining government processes to ensure children and youth in need of out-of-home placement receive the best options available and the highest quality of service from their social workers and foster parents.”

Core components of a continuum of care strategy will include:

  • increasing funding for kinship arrangements and foster homes;
  • enhancing supports and training for foster parents; and,
  • eliminating the need for the current alternative living arrangements by implementing a framework for staffed residential facilities for children and youth who need this level of support.

Additional key investments in Budget 2012 for child, youth and family services are:

Human Resources

  • Approximately $2.4 million will be provided to hire an additional 29 new frontline positions, including social worker supervisors, social workers, social work assistants and clerk typists. These positions are an integral part of transforming child, youth and family service delivery and will position the department to meet its commitment for reduced caseloads and provision of better services to clients.

Program Growth

  • Building on last year’s investment of an additional $2.2 million into delivery of departmental programs, this year a total of $3 million will be invested recognizing the importance of programs and services provided directly to children and their families.

Remuneration for Social Work Placements

  • To assist in the long-term recruitment of new social workers in the province, a total of $475,300 will be provided to compensate approximately 70 social work student placements each year.

Home Support Worker Salary Increase

  • $600,000 to provide a $0.25 per hour wage increase effective July 1, 2012 for workers within Child, Youth and Family Services who provide respite and behavioural aid. This funding is part of a broader initiative to provide increases to home support workers within the Department of Health and Community Services and is in recognition of the important functions these positions perform.

Regulated Family Child Care Initiative

  • As announced on April 18, Budget 2012 will include $2 million for the second year of the two-year pilot Family Child Care Initiative. This initiative will continue to provide much needed regulated child care spaces throughout the province with an emphasis on spaces for infants up to 24 months.

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Media contact:
Michelle Hunt
Director of Communications
Department of Child, Youth and Family Services
709-729-5148, 725-1593

2012 04 24             2:35 p.m.

Last Updated:
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