By Justin Seward
The Cypress Early Childhood Coalition is one of 98 Early Childhood Coalitions Alberta that will have its government funding run out on March 31.
The UCP government included the cut in its Feb. 27 budget.
The Coalition are community members who live or work in Cypress County and Redcliff and together ensure that young children are living in supportive communities and share positive experience in helping kids grow up to be healthy and see success in school work and relationships.
“Each Coalition in the province was getting up to the $22,500. We had to apply for it,” said Marilyn Fisher, Cypress Coalition’s community resources coordinator.
The funding went to childhood education in the local area by helping parents with play activities and things they can do with their children at home and community events where information was provided.
The grant was received from April 1 to March 31 of every fiscal year for the last seven years.
“We were always waiting at the last minute before the end of our fiscal year whether we would have funding for the following year or not,” said Fisher.
“This year they told us back in November that we wouldn’t have any more after the end of March.
There are other agencies who sit on the Coalition that are affected including parts of Alberta Health Services,Bridges Family Programs- which offer a variety of programs and services for families in Medicine Hat and surrounding area, the Parent Link Centre has been cut.
“Right now there is a new framework for child development services have to work under now. Within that framework there so much money that has been given out and Coalitions weren’t able to apply for that funding,” she said.
“Some other agency would apply for the funding for the work that we do.”
Fisher says a Coalition is just a group of people sitting together with a common cause and not considered a society or a government agency and is the reason they could not apply for that specific funding.
There have been numerous meetings held to discuss a plan for the future.
“We have had a number of meetings. I’ve met with a number of people locally, but I’ve also met with the Southern Alberta region of Coalitions and have been involved with provincial meetings as well,” she said.
“Everybody is doing things a little bit differently. Some are closing totally, some are going to carry on with advisory-type groups which would be volunteer. Then others have had agencies that they’ve been closely tied to before who are applying for funding for them.”
Programming will be stopped until the local Coalition’s next meeting in June.