December 2, 2008
The following statement was issued by the Honourable Jerome P. Kennedy, Q.C., Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board, Minister Responsible for the Public Service Secretariat and Minister Responsible for the Office of the Chief Information Officer. It was also read in the House of Assembly:
Families Benefiting from New Parental Programs
I rise in this honourable house today to update residents of the province on the progress of two new programs the Williams� Government announced earlier this year to assist families � the Progressive Family Growth Benefit and the Parental Support Benefit.
We recognize the high costs associated with raising a child and these benefits were introduced to assist new parents with some of the increased costs they encounter in the first years of a child�s life.
The Progressive Family Growth Benefit provides $1,000 for every child born or adopted and the Parental Support Benefit provides $100 per month to parents for the first 12 months for each child born or adopted. Budget 2008 includes an allocation of $12.4 million for the program this year, and $9.9 million annually thereafter. The combined total of births and adoptions each year is approximately 4,500.
I am pleased to report that 3,000 applications have been received from families to date for these programs, and I would like to encourage parents of children born or adopted on or after January 1, 2008 who have not already done so, to apply for the programs.
In an effort to increase the number of applications, my department is working in conjunction with the MCP office to increase awareness of the programs by mailing out an application form to those individuals who have received an MCP card for children born on or after January 1, 2008.
Application forms for both benefits are available online through the Department of Finance website and at all Government Services Centres, obstetrical units and MCP offices. An application form is also included in all You and Your New Baby packages available through public health nurses.
The Progressive Family Growth Benefit and the Parental Support Benefit add to the many family-focused supports that have been introduced or enhanced by the Williams Government. Over the past four years, among other measures, the Provincial Government has significantly enhanced the Newfoundland and Labrador Prescription Drug Program which assists families with drug costs, expanded the Children�s Dental Health Program, provided insulin pumps for children, expanded the child care subsidy program, increased the Mother-Baby Nutritional Supplement for mothers with low incomes, eliminated school fees, provided free text books for high school students, provided needs-based non-repayable grants to post-secondary students and reduced interest rates on provincial student loans.
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