Jan. 17, 2002
FREDERICTON (CNB) - A new $1.8 million Prenatal Benefit Program to encourage healthy food and lifestyle choices during pregnancy will provide funding and information to low-income women, Family and Community Services Minister Joan MacAlpine and Health and Wellness Minister Elvy Robichaud announced today.
"This new program will help to create a better society in which all young children are given greater opportunity to achieve their full potential," MacAlpine said. "As a government, we believe in the importance of strong and secure families. This program will help to improve services for families, women and children."
Health and Wellness Minister Elvy Robichaud and Family and Community Services Minister Joan MacAlpine. (Click here to access a 150 dpi photo.) Video- Quicktime Movie (1) Microsoft ASF (1), Audio - Quicktime (1) (2) - (more audio/video)
The program is one of the initiatives included in the Early Childhood Development Agenda. Women who wish to participate in the program may apply to their local office of Human Resource Development of the Department of Family and Community Services when they confirm their pregnancy with their physician.
Expectant mothers will be given the opportunity to participate in sessions on healthy eating and lifestyle choices offered by Family Resource Centres throughout the province. Financial assistance starts at the beginning of the fourth month, and monthly payments continue for the next six monthsl. The financial benefits are calculated on a sliding scale for families with a net income of $29,000 or less, with a maximum monthly benefit of $81.41 for families with a net income under $21,214.
"This program demonstrates what we can achieve when we work together - the Prenatal Benefit was developed by the staff of Family and Community Services and Health and Wellness - in partnership with family resource centres and the Healthy Baby and Me Program of the Victorian Order of Nurses," Robichaud said.
The Prenatal Benefit builds on the Early Childhood Initiatives (ECI) program to ensure that children thrive and successfully meet the many learning challenges they face as they enter the public school system.
Greater Opportunities for New Brunswick Children is a five-year development plan worth about $50 million. Announced in the spring of 2001, the plan includes initiatives aimed at helping children and families in New Brunswick. These initiatives are part of Phase 1 of the development plan, which represents a $7.3-million investment for the 2001-02 fiscal year.
MEDIA CONTACT: Mary McIntosh, communications, Family and Community Services, 506-453-2001.