April 10, 2002
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Government will invest almost $696 million in families and community services in New Brunswick this year. That's an increase of almost $16 million over last year. Family and Community Services Minister Joan MacAlpine announced the increase today.
"The government has established long-term economic success for a globally competitive New Brunswick while taking the balanced approach by investing in important priorities such as health care, education and other social programs," MacAlpine said. "We invest in people, provide opportunities for people and most importantly, we help those people who need our help the most."
Some of the highlights of the 2002-2003 budget for Family and Community Services include:
Eight million dollars will be added to the nursing home budget and $2 million will be generated through increased revenue for a total of $10 million. This money will cover negotiated contract settlements and staff wage increases. An additional $2 million will be targeted to the busiest workload times to enhance resident care.
Family and Community Services staff have designed and implemented seven new initiatives under the Early Childhood Development Agenda, including the Day Care Assistance Program, the Alternative Child Care Program and the New Brunswick Child Tax Benefit. FCS also offers a prenatal benefit program and a Community Capacity Building Program for children. This year government will invest $9.7 million in early childhood development programs, an increase of $2.4 million over last year.
"The government has also made the choice to help New Brunswickers with disabilities," MacAlpine said. "For the second year in a row we have increased the Disability Supplement by $250 and since government introduced this benefit, the supplement has increased to $750."
FCS is committed to Transition Houses as well, increasing funding for the operation of these safe havens with an additional expenditure of $250,000. Everything will be done to make sure women and children have the support they need.
"We are continuing to invest in children, seniors, families and people with disabilities," MacAlpine said. "Family and Community Services is a department dedicated to providing many of the programs that matter most to New Brunswickers and a department that captures the government's capacity for compassion."
MEDIA CONTACT: Wade Wilson, communications, Family and Community Services, 506-444-3684.