Premier Kathleen Wynne is in the Forest City for the day. Earlier Friday, she visited the White Oaks Family Centre and also got to play with a group of younger children.
The Premier then made an announcement, with younger children in the room, about launching a new program that the Ontario Government is going to put forward. The Liberal Government is combining the ‘Ontario Early Child’ service and family services into one. The new program is called the ‘Ontario Early Child and Family Centres’ service. These four centres will be integrated into one:
- Ontario Early Years Centres
- Parenting and Family Literacy Centres
- Child Care Resource Centres
- Better Beginnings, Better Futures
The program is set to begin in 2018 and offer ‘hubs’ for parents and children.
Wynne spoke with London North-Centre MPP Deb Matthews and education minister Liz Sandals about the institution of the service.
“When you give families the resources they need to the best start possible, you’re investing in the hopes and dreams and aspirations of parents and caregivers in the society,” Wynne told XFM News at the announcement. “We know that there needs to be more of a ‘system’ in these programs. We also know that we can create some of that standardization that these core services can be offered.”
The government currently invests more than $97 million annually in child and family programs in Ontario.
Wynne also highlights the fact that this new project is about families and not about funds, “This is not about saving money, this is about coordination. It’s about $97 million dollars that is in the system. We’re going to work with the communities to integrate this new system.”
She also added that touring in London helped give the right outlook on what these centres will provide.
“We wanted to be in a centre that really demonstrated the integration that we are talking about,” says Wynne.