Government cuts guarantee the failure of Success by Six program

Success by Six, another early childhood education program, is losing its funding due to BC Liberal budget cuts, and children in rural communities will pay the price, says Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald.

Success by Six is an early childhood development program that provides all children with a good start in life.  Success by Six is a partnership between the Credit Unions of BC, the United Way and the BC government through funding provided by the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

The Early Childhood Development Provincial Partnership which has helped develop Success by Six says the removal of government funding will make continuation of the program impossible.

“Success by Six is a highly successful program that has provided tremendous benefits to children in the communities of Revelstoke, Golden, Invermere and Kimberley,” Macdonald in a statement.  “And we all know that every dollar spent on early childhood development is an investment that pays dividends in subsequent years.”

Tracy Spannier, Revelstoke’s Early Childhood Development coordinator said it is unclear “at this time what funding, if any, we will receive this year.”

“The Revelstoke ECD Committee has met to begin planning how to deal with the changes in funding,” she said. “I would like to acknowledge the deep committment of the ECD Committee and their hard work to sustain our initiatives.”

Spannier said the loss of funding will impact the Revelstoke ECD program’s ability to:

• support local programs such as the Kids Snack Program, Roots of Empathy and literacy programs;
• address the barriers that prevent families from accessing the programs and services they require;
• continue to partner to address the infrastructure needs for a family friendly community;  and
• provide the programming, resources and information tools to ensure that parents are well supported and knowledgable about the importance of quality early childhood experiences.

During Question Period, Macdonald reminded the BC Liberals of their original claims when they implemented the program in 2003.

“In 2003, this is what the government said about the program: ‘For every dollar invested in early support services for children and families, at least $2 is saved in later social costs.  For children living in high-risk situations, this early intervention can result in far greater savings,” he said in the Legislature.

“By the government’s own admission, this cut is shortsighted.  It is going to cost the province in the long run.”

But the cut to Success by Six funding will have a further cost, especially for early childhood programs in rural communities that rely on grant monies from organizations such as the Columbia Basin Trust.

In order to apply for grants to fund early childhood development projects, applicants must show they have access to multiple funding sources. The money provided by the provincial government allowed Success by Six and its partner organizations to qualify for those grants.

“The implications of this cut are far reaching,” Macdonald said.  “There is the loss of staff and programming, but there is also the loss of the ability to leverage grant monies to fund projects that rural communities have relied on to improve the lives of children.”