Programming aimed at families with young children received a boost on the West Shore recently with the announcement that the province was continuing its funding for Early Years programs run by the Sooke Family Resource Centre.

Programs for young families enhanced on West Shore

Area families among those benefiting from Early Years funding given to Sooke Family Resource Society

The Sooke Family Resource Society is excited about the future, as it looks to expand its programs for families with young children.

Thanks to a commitment by the Ministry of Children and Family Development to fund the society and its various operations as a B.C. Early Years Centre – one of 12 such communities in the province – for another year, the organization can continue to expand.

“We were very excited because it gives an opportunity to enhance the services we already provide to communities,” said Daphne Raymond, the society’s manager of children and family services. “The whole goal really (is) to expand access for families – to know where the resources are for community for families with young children and find ways to access that information in an easy manner.”

The society’s satellite location at the Westshore Child Youth and Family Centre on Wale Road in Colwood offers programming for families with children up to the age of six. Programs include counselling services, Kingfisher Preschool, Pacheedaht Nation Family Group, parent drop-in programs, pre-natal programs and intervention. The main site is in Sooke.

“We were excited to be part of this first group of test sites,” Raymond said.

“(This) funding also allows us to work more collaboratively with other community services and partners to best share their information with the parents. The best part for the community is we are seeing the B.C. Early Years start being implemented, and seeing results of that as actual services for communities.”

The initial funding is for a one-year contract ending March of 2015.

However, Raymond said, the society went through a thorough request for proposal application, and is hoping that the provincial funding continues for programming she said makes a difference on the West Shore.

“We do have people say to us our resource groups are a lifeline for them, a really supportive place to go and meet other parents who understand the complexity they have with their parenting,” she said. “I think people really see it as their way to have a place they feel connected with, (during) any challenges with parenting.”

Two other Vancouver Island societies, the Comox Valley Child Development Society and the Beacon Community Association on the Saanich Peninsula, join the SFRS among the successful applicants receiving $52,000 earmarked for families with children up to age six.

“(We are) dedicated to caring for families and individuals of all ages in Greater Southern Island by providing services in parenting support child, youth, and family development,” Raymond said. “Parents often come first for their child, and the child loves it. But then the parents realize they really benefit from it as well.”

alim@goldstreamgazette.com