Nov. 20, 2000
FREDERICTON (CNB) -- The following statement was made by Family and Community Services Minister Percy Mockler in recognition of National Child Day, Nov. 20:
"National Child Day is a special day for children and youth. This year, National Child Day is particularly special, because it has now been 11 years since the Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and 10 years since Canada signed the convention.
This year's theme is participation. Children are not simply tomorrow's citizens; they are citizens today, and we must find ways to make their voices heard.
Here in New Brunswick, children are our priority. We value our children and are continually working to make their lives better. Government has introduced many programs and services over the past few years to assist children and their families, including:
-Healthy Minds Initiative - We've expanded last year's pilot project, and this year, will invest almost $1 million in a nutrition program for children in grades kindergarten to grade 3 across the province.
-Early Childhood Development - We have secured federal funding for early childhood development programs and services, which will begin to benefit young children in the province starting in April. Beginning next April, New Brunswick will begin to receive about $7 million annually, which will increase over time, to invest in our young children.
-National Child Benefit - New Brunswick continues to be the only province in Canada to allow all eligible families to benefit from the National Child Benefit. In 1999-2000, more than 70,000 New Brunswick children received more than $40 million in benefits from this initiative.
-New Brunswick Child Tax Benefit - New Brunswick invests over $20 million annually in the New Brunswick Child Tax Benefit and Working Income Supplement, which assists low-income families and their children.
-Early Childhood Initiatives - We invest over $12 million annually in this program, which is a province-wide, integrated service delivery system, targeting children from the prenatal stage to five years whose development is at risk due to physical, intellectual or environmental factors. The overall goal is to enhance the development of children before they enter kindergarten.
-Born to Read Program - We continue to support the Born to Read program, which in partnership with the community and corporations, is designed to develop the awareness of the importance of daily reading to young children. This year, government has made a financial commitment of $40,000, equal to about one half of the budget, to help purchase books for this program.
-Day Care Assistance Program - We continue to invest nearly $8 million annually to assist families with their child care expenses.
Government is committed to working in partnership with families to improve the lives of children in this program. Our investments today, be they financial, or in time spent with a child, will produce a great results in the future, when our children grow up to be happy and productive members of society."
MEDIA CONTACT: Mary McIntosh, communications, Family and Community Services, 506-444-3684.