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OPINION: Safety top priority of caregiver program

Tina Mundy, second right, minister of Family and Human Services, meets with grandparents Nov. 10 during a government announcement that help is coming to Islanders who care for their grandchildren. From left, Jackie Agnew, Cynthia Poirier, Jean Torok, Minister Mundy and Joan Newell.
(IIS Photo)
Tina Mundy, second right, minister of Family and Human Services, meets with grandparents Nov. 10 during a government announcement that help is coming to Islanders who care for their grandchildren. From left, Jackie Agnew, Cynthia Poirier, Jean Torok, Minister Mundy and Joan Newell. (IIS Photo) - The Guardian

BY TINA MUNDY

GUEST OPINION

I have been deeply concerned by recent misleading stories and commentaries about our government’s new Grandparents and Care Providers Program.

This program supports children and their caregivers who are unable to safely live with their parents. These children, without the loving care of grandparents, aunts, uncles, or other care providers, would come into the guardianship of the province. These reasons could include death of a parent or parents, abandonment, mental health and addictions, to name a few.

To be very clear, this program is aimed at supporting all grandparents and caregivers caring for children who are unable to live with their parents. We acted immediately to help those children who are most vulnerable or at risk. These children are identified as those with open child protection cases.

children and their caregivers will now receive $700 per month per child, fully subsidized child care as well as children’s dental and prescription drug coverage – benefits that prior to this program they could not access. We have been very clear that we will work as quickly as possible to respond to all other caregivers to help even more children.

This program is very close to my heart. Responding to the needs of children who have often suffered trauma at young ages has been a priority of mine and a large number of vocal and committed caregivers for many years.

Between now and April 1, 2018 we will be in touch with all families who have contacted us as we expand the program even further. We are committed to you and recognize the sacrifices you make for the children you love and care for. Together we will make a real difference in the lives of children.

- Tina Mundy is the minister of P.E.I.’s Department of Family and Human Services

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