UPDATE: Liberals promise funding for early intervention program

Sueann Musick
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NEW GLASGOW – Lisa Smith would welcome any new funding into a program that offers help to young children with special needs.

With 39 families currently on its waiting list, the executive director of Pictou County Early Intervention says a Liberal campaign promise to invest $2.6 million in direct services for families in need of these services can’t come soon enough. 

“It will mean reduced wait time for families,” she said. “Right now, we have 39 families who been waiting for a year.” 

Pictou County Early Intervention provides free services for families coping with children who have been diagnosed with, or those at risk for, developmental delays. Some of the children on the waiting list have difficulties such as spina bifida, prematurity, autism and cerebral palsy.  

Smith said the Pictou County program currently receives $100,298 in funding but it must fundraise $50,000 each year on its own to maintain its current level of service. 

The catch 22, she said, is that the organization is mandated to advertise its services so people know help is available, but when people try to access them, they are placed on a waiting list. 

She said it’s imperative that the children are helped early. 

Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil make a brief stop at the early intervention office in New Glasgow Wednesday to announce the funding promise that he will give added support to families and home-based supports with children up to six years old with special needs. 

 “These programs help give children much needed supports by creating unique and adaptive learning strategies and properly prepare them for the primary school system,” he said. “A Liberal government will work collaboratively with early year intervention programs to ensure the structure and disbursement of new investments is strategic and guided to maximize the positive impacts on children.”

In addition to the stop in Pictou Centre, McNeil also visited Westville and Pictou yesterday as part of his campaign tour.

Organizations: Pictou County Early Intervention, Pictou Centre

Geographic location: Pictou County, New Glasgow, Westville

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