The Early Years Refugee Program designed to help refugee families with young children will receive approximately $5.75 million as part of an agreement between the United Way of the Lower Mainland, the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour, and the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
Under the agreement, the B.C. government is contributing up to $3.9 million and the United Way is contributing up to $1.75 million. This will fund the program through the 2013-14 fiscal year.
The program is part of WelcomeBC, the provincial immigrant settlement program, which co-ordinates and supports programs in communities throughout the province to help immigrants settle successfully in B.C. The Early Years Refugee Program has locations spread across the Lower Mainland. Funding for WelcomeBC is made possible through the federal and provincial governments.
The Early Years Refugee Program is designed for refugee families with young children. These vulnerable families are given extra support in a place where they can get help finding settlement resources, receive education and access health services that are invaluable in making sure they have a good chance at building a strong future in British Columbia.
Some of the services the Early Years Refugee Program provides:
* Parenting-related settlement support.
* Early child development and learning activities for children from birth to six years of age.
* Early childhood development-focused parenting education and information.
* Referrals to supportive services, including settlement integration and vulnerable population programs.
* Child development and health assessments, as well as orientation.
Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour -
"It's important that immigrants in B.C. have the best chance to build a new life when they settle here. This is especially true for vulnerable groups like refugees who often come here in difficult circumstances and need extra help to get on their feet, especially when they have young children. I am happy that this agreement means we can continue to provide that help."
Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development -
"Refugee families have come to British Columbia to seek a better life and we're helping them achieve that. The Early Years Refugee Program responds to the early learning and developmental needs of refugee children in order to make a lasting difference for them, their families and the B.C. communities in which they live."
Wai Young, Member of Parliament for Vancouver South -
"Canada has a proud tradition of opening its doors to people from around the world and providing a safe haven to those in need of protection. The Government of Canada is committed to helping those vulnerable populations to become successful members of Canadian society. This program provides crucial support to refugee families and I'm happy this important work will continue."
WelcomeBC Website: http://www.welcomebc.ca