Ministry 2002/03 Annual Service Plan Report -- Government of British Columbia.
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2002/03 Annual Service Plan Report
Ministry of Children and Family Development

Message from the Minister of State for Early Childhood Development

Photograph -- Honourable Linda Reid.In 2002/03, the ministry made progress in enhancing many services for early childhood development (ECD). These services are tailored to a diverse B.C. population of well over 250,000 children aged birth to six years, providing better health, new skills and well-being that enhance a child's success, both in the school years and through a lifetime.

Government boosted overall spending for early childhood and family development programs by $20 million in 2002/03, to create or expand services in communities province-wide. Nevertheless, with the challenges of overall budget reductions, it is critical to ensure that all services represent strategic investments that promote evidence-based outcomes for those we serve. Research clearly shows that ECD investments pay off in future benefits, through reduced need for more intensive interventions later on that are less effective and more costly.

In 2002/03, some of our early childhood development successes included:

  • increasing focus on Aboriginal ECD programs, including the appointment of B.C.'s first Aboriginal infant development program (IDP) advisor, and enhancing availability of culturally appropriate Aboriginal ECD services in areas like healthy pregnancy, birth, infancy and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) prevention province-wide.
  • providing approximately 600 B.C. children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with the newly introduced interim early intensive intervention (IEII) or previously established early intensive behavioural intervention (EIBI), an overall increase from the previous year when 75 children were receiving EIBI.
  • increasing opportunities for FASD awareness and education, such as hosting a provincial-territorial continuing medical education symposium at Burns Lake and contributing to a cross-ministry plan for FASD prevention, to prevent the tragic consequences of FASD.
  • committing to a grant of $10 million over two years for an ECD partnership with the United Way and Credit Union Central of British Columbia, representing the Savings and Credit Unions of BC. The Success By 6 program supports community partnerships in ECD province-wide, and the funds will leverage investment and involvement through community-driven projects across B.C. to enhance outcomes for children under six years. The United Way of the Lower Mainland has been implementing the Success By 6 program in communities since 1999, giving young children the solid foundation they need. Initiatives include parenting support, community kitchens, toy-lending libraries, early literacy and outreach initiatives.

These successes are just a few examples of the many ECD programs planned, begun or expanded in 2002/03. I am confident that through government, families, service representatives and communities working together to ensure that our most precious resource — our children — have every opportunity to thrive, we are paving the way to a brighter future for thousands of British Columbia children and their families.

The Honourable Linda Reid
Minister of State for Early Childhood Development


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