Harris government commits over $857,000 to support kids

Archived Release

Harris government commits over $857,000 to support kids

TORONTO, June 27 /CNW/ - Tina Molinari, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister Responsible for Children, today announced that over $850,000 from the Harris government's Early Years Challenge Fund will go to support the Early Intervention Children's Program operated by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) - Ontario Division. This agency will receive an $857,080 grant over two years to establish an early intervention program to address the specific needs of young children who are blind or visually impaired. The project will reach over 1,400 young children and families in 10 communities throughout Ontario.
"I am here today to congratulate CNIB's Ontario Division for participating in this new initiative," said Molinari. "Their proposal for funding through the Early Years Challenge Fund demonstrates a real desire to support the unique needs of children with vision impairments in those critical first six years."
Launched in December 2000, Ontario's Early Years Challenge Fund matches contributions made by businesses, volunteer and charitable groups for new programs that will help parents give their children the best possible start in life. Through community partnerships, the Harris government funds new programs that are aimed at helping children during their first six years of life - the most important time to develop the skills needed to achieve their full potential through the rest of their lives.
"We are excited by this opportunity to begin the Canadian National Institute for the Blind Early Intervention Children's Program in Ontario," said Beverley Ginou, Director of Rehabilitation, Canadian National Institute for the Blind - Ontario Division. "There is growing enthusiasm in support of early child development. The Early Years Challenge Fund is giving our organization the opportunity to support blind and visually impaired children and their families by quickly connecting them to the services they need to help ensure good early child development."
The Canadian National Institute for the Blind - Ontario Division is using its Early Years Challenge Fund grant to expand the Early Intervention Children's Program to 10 communities to provide direct services, information, resources and parent/peer support. The program will be initially delivered from district offices in Peterborough, York/Simcoe/Muskoka, Hamilton, Waterloo, Windsor, Sudbury, Toronto, London, Halton/Peel, and Ottawa.



Early Years Challenge Fund

Ontario's Early Years Study, commissioned by Premier Mike Harris and co- authored by Dr. Fraser Mustard and the Honourable Margaret McCain, demonstrated the critical importance of investing in a child's early years. The study recommended that the government provide a fund to help communities create successful early years programs. The government embraced these findings and is implementing the Early Years Challenge Fund, a key commitment to provide early years programs for children and families across Ontario.
Through this fund, the government is challenging private sector, not-for- profit and other partners to develop collaborative and creative initiatives to support children and families. The main objective of the Early Years Challenge Fund is to build capacity in communities to develop local early years programs so that all families in Ontario can help their children reach their full potential. The government's contribution this year will grow by $15 million on top of the $15 million allocated last year.
This initiative brings together a wide range of groups to develop proposals. These groups are required to come forward with their own contributions, both financial and in-kind, to be matched by the government on a 50:50 basis.
The Harris government invited groups to put forward proposals for province-wide projects in January 2001. A request for community-specific projects will be made this summer.

Canadian National Institute for the Blind - Ontario Division

The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) Early Intervention Children's Program will provide information, resources, and parent/peer support. It will also offer direct services such as matching young children with a preschool specialist who has expertise in encouraging development for young children who are blind. Other direct services include immediate referrals from a physician to the CNIB when a child is found to have vision impairment, a phone call from the CNIB within 24 hours of receiving a referral, and a family meeting with the CNIB within 10 days of receiving a referral. This project will serve approximately 1,400 children and families throughout Ontario.
The Harris government is proud to support this initiative as it continues to lead the nation in promoting and supporting all young children in their early years.

For more information on Ontario's Early Years Challenge Fund visit
http://www.gov.on.ca/CSS or http://www.childsec.gov.on.ca

Or Contact:

Bruce Weinert Dan Miles
Tina Molinari's office Minister's Office
(416) 325-5249 (416) 325-5215

Disponible en fran├žais

For further information: Bruce Weinert, Tina Molinari's office, (416) 325-5249; Dan Miles, Minister's Office, (416) 325-5215; For more information visit http://www.gov.on.ca/CSS or http://www.childsec.gov.on.ca