June 29, 2000
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Family and Community Services Minister Percy Mockler has received the Children Come First report on child welfare in New Brunswick.
"I would like to thank everyone who helped prepare this report for their hard work and diligence," Mockler said. "We promised to improve the co-ordination and delivery of child welfare services and we are keeping that commitment. For this government, children do indeed come first."
The creation of the new Department of Family and Community Services will provide a more co-ordinated and innovative approach to helping children. The department provides literacy training, academic upgrading, life skills and transition to employment programs through a network of human resource service centres. Social assistance recipients are given the opportunity to complete their education and learn new job skills.
"We realize jobs are still the best security," Mocker said. "On the issue of child welfare, as with many other issues that are so important to New Brunswickers, we have chosen to focus on the long term. We know that long-term solutions are not only the best way to proceed, they are the only way to proceed."
The Department of Family and Community Services will spend more on child protection this year. This will include $6.31 million for children living in foster homes, $260,000 for the protection of children living at home and $620,000 in investments to support 18 new nurses in public health. A further $800,000 will be used for foster home redesign and training of foster parents to help children and youth in their care.
In addition, the Department of Health and Wellness will invest another $3.2 million for children in New Brunswick. This investment includes 18 nurses working with child protection staff, 18 nurses in the Early Childhood Initiatives Program helping new parents care for their children, and 28 new public health nurses who will be involved in the healthy learners in school program.
The report Children Come First is available on the Internet at: http://www.gnb.ca//Fcs-sfc/Index-e.htm
MEDIA CONTACT: Mary McIntosh, Family and Community Services, 506-444-3684; Hugues Beaulieu, Family and Community Services, 506-444-4558.