By Jeremy Appel
Alberta Newspaper Group
The County of Forty Mile Family Community Support Services is waiting to find out the fate of funding for early childhood development after applying under a new model in January.
The ECDC promoted the important of “early literacy” and family bonding for early brain development, particularly for those with complex need, such as autism, offering free events, such as story time, play groups and parenting classes in Bow Island, Foremost and the county.
Corinna Roth-Beacome, the executive director of the county’s FCSS program, a ECDC collaborator, says a contract for $223,400 in funding for the ECDC expired in October’s 2019 budget.
The ministry is taking a ‘hub-and-spoke’ approach, where one agency offers a full array of services while its subsidiaries have more limited offerings. The FCSS has applied to be the latter.
“We don’t have that continued funding going forward, but we have applied through FCSS to be a spoke service to continue offering early childhood programming in the Forty Mile region,” said Roth-Beacome.
She says the new model has caused a degree of confusion for early child care providers in determining whether to apply as a hub or spoke.
The FCSS has yet to hear back from the Ministry of Childhood Services as of press time, and the deadline to hear back from them is mid-March.
Roth-Beacome says this “definitely impacts” the range of programming offered to young families.
“We had a coordinator, so that position we’ll have to eliminate as of March 31. The programming that was attached to what she was doing in the community will be lost without continued funding,” she said.