Community Connections chairman concerned about cuts to children’s development programs

Editor’s Note:

This is an open letter to Mary Polak, BC’s minister for child and family development, regarding recent cuts to the Infant Supported Development Program and the Child Supported Development Program. To learn more about this issue please click on this link — — to read The Current’s original story, Funding cuts undermine programs aimed at vulnerable infants and youngsters, about the cuts.

Dear Minister Polak:

We, the board of Community Connections (Revelstoke) Society are writing to express our concern over the recent decision to close the Provincial Advisory Office for the Infant Development Program, Aboriginal Infant Development Program and the Supported Child Development Program.  Our agency hosts the Infant Development and Supported Child Development Programs and provides services to families with children who have special needs living in our physically isolated and rural community.

The Consultants for these programs rely upon the Provincial Advisor’s Office and Regional Advisors.  The training opportunities, sharing of expertise and networking facilitated by these offices is key to our ability to continue to provide a comprehensive continuum of service for families with infants and young children who are the most vulnerable.

Our Consultants regularly upgrade their skills through Provincial and Regional In-service opportunities, Summer Institute programs, the Early Years Conference, Provincial Partnership Projects and the UBC Certificate and Diploma program in Infant Development.  All of these training events are sponsored and/or co-coordinated through the Provincial Advisor’s Office with the Regional Advisors providing ongoing training and support.

It is the Provincial Advisor’s office which ensures there is uniformity of services provided to families throughout the province – regardless of where they live.  Our Consultants look to this office to ensure their practice is informed by the most current evidence based intervention information.

Consultants in both programs look to their Provincial Office and Advisors when facilitating a connection between our families and others in the province who are struggling with similar concerns.

In our opinion, the loss of the Provincial Advisor’s Offices for the Infant Development and Supported Child Development Office will result in fragmented services across the province, lack of leadership to set standards for education and practice, and, most importantly, lack of support for the Consultants who provide services to the vulnerable children and families in our community.  We strongly urge you to reconsider these closures.

Most Sincerely;

Norm Tennant
Chairman of the Board
Community Connections (Revelstoke) Society