Grandparents, family members and friends caring for children will get financial help and supports from the provincial government.
A new “grandparents and care providers program” was announced Friday, which aims to help families who provide out-of-home care for children for safety reasons.
The program will provide $700 per month per child as well as child care and children’s dental and drug coverage.
Government is acting on requests from grandparents for help in providing safe living arrangements for children. Assistance for grandparents and care providers was also among the recommendations from the Child Protection Act review.
“When a parent is unable to safely care for a child, living with a familiar person is best for the child and reduces trauma - which is our top priority,” Family and Human Services Minister Tina Mundy said.
“This program helps ease the financial burden for the grandparents and family members who are providing a safe, loving home for a child.”
Currently, there are 54 children in Prince Edward Island who live in 47 homes with family members or someone close to them – and 72 per cent of those are in grandparent-led homes. These arrangements prevent the child from coming into the legal custody and guardianship of the province.
Pat Poirier, Summerside grandparent group facilitator, said he was pleased the province is moving forward with this much-needed support for grandparents and others who step in to care for vulnerable children who get caught up in difficult family situations.
“The program is way beyond our expectations, and the fact that government responded so quickly to our concerns is fantastic.”
Mundy says the first phase of the program is focused on “the most urgent concerns,” while work will continue on the next phase to address other areas such as legal, educational and medical decisions for children.
"We have been reviewing programs in other provinces to explore options that work best for Island families."
The program will be available beginning Dec. 1 by contacting Child Protection Services at 1-877-341-3101