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REPORTING · 26th March 2014
Walter McFarlane
Gillian Mullins was before Council on Monday, March 24th to update them on the activities of the Children First Coalition. The Children’s First is for working with community organizations who provide services to families with young children to help coordinate and communicate around the services.

“During the fall, […] I was doing a needs assessment in the community primarily around services to families with young children focusing on families with children 0-6 because that is where children first focuses. I had an opportunity to meet with most of the organizations and service providers in the community who directly or indirectly apply service to families with young children as well as have an opportunity to meet with some parents of children as well,” said Mullins.

She explained that if children have good opportunities, their health will be much better as they get older. Even though the community has good opportunities and services, there was still a lack of coordination. She heard from parents and organizations there were gaps in how the organizations communicate. The organizations were unable to tell them how they were able communicate.

Mullins told Council while there is an interagency committee in town, they collaborate on information sharing rather than developing activities and services.

She found in her investigation there was a need for child care, as those services are locally limited and there are waitlists. In addition, it is becoming stressful for families moving into the community.

Another stress she found was in vulnerable children who move from the early years into the schools where there is not enough support for them.

“We’re going to be working in Children First to try and develop. We’re not going to solve these problems that have been, [we’re going to] develop, coordinated processes to deal with some of these issues,” said Mullins.

She told Council about the different groups which Children First is going to work with. Mullins stated their goal over the next couple of months is to engage the community and their partners to find out what they want and put it into a state of the child report.

They are hoping to have the report done by National Child Day, November 20th. They want to make it a day which is welcoming to all families.

Mullins let Council know that Children First is working with the schools to have community family fun days once a month. They held their first one in March and the Families found it positive. They are free activities, schools are providing the venues and the Leisure Services are helping out.