Northumberland agency says thousands of children and families could be placed at risk

PORT HOPE, ON, Jan. 28, 2014 /CNW/ - Northumberland Child Development Centre (NCDC), a respected agency that has been helping children and families in our province for more than three decades, has been subjected to funding cuts, threats and intimidation since the Ontario government transferred the responsibility for child care services in 2013. Moreover, moves by the provincial and municipal governments will cause "grave harm" to Northumberland residents in desperate need of help.

"The Wynne government and Northumberland County have been acting in a manner that's secretive, callous, and quite frankly, outrageous," said Clare Paterson, Executive Director at NCDC. "And when we spoke out about what was happening, the County tried to muzzle us, and put us out of business."

Tomorrow, Northumberland County Council will be voting on a motion to further eliminate NCDC's Special Needs Resourcing funding, effectively crippling NCDC's programs and services.  "We fear that tomorrow's council meeting will result in the end of NCDC and, most seriously, the end to services that so many people in our community depend on to survive," Paterson said, "The families, the youth, the unemployed and the disadvantaged that count on us to help them will be devastated."

NCDC clients echo that sentiment. "It feels like the fix is in," said Michelle Higginson, a parent whose family relies on NCDC's services. "It seems like provincial and municipal officials don't like the fact that NCDC fights so passionately for people like us, so they've decided to shut them down. I'd like them to know that NCDC has changed my child's - and my entire family's - life for the better. If it weren't for them, I don't know what would've happened to us."

Paterson and Higginson predict that the County intends to hand over NCDC's funding to a provincially funded agency that is located far from the people NCDC has served since 1979. Paterson added, "Tomorrow morning we expect that the County is going to try to silence us forever, but we're not going to let them. We will fight every step and with every means we have."

NCDC and its supporters will be kicking off an intensive campaign of public awareness, and possibly legal action, to fight Northumberland County's pre-ordained decision. "Premier Kathleen Wynne's government has done nothing to help us, allowing local political leaders to pursue a narrow political agenda aimed at killing off NCDC," said Paterson. "We will speak out at tomorrow's County Council meeting and fight this sneaky and dishonest move."

SOURCE NORTHUMBERLAND CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTRE

For further information:

Clare Paterson
Northumberland Child Development Centre
Tel: (905) 885-8137 Ext. 212
clare@ncdcent.com
www.ncdcent.com