TORONTO, April 16 /CNW/ - Elementary teachers applaud the Ontario
government's funding commitment for mental health services for children of
Ontario soldiers serving in Afghanistan.
The funding includes $2 million to provide children's mental health
support for communities in crisis such as Petawawa. As well, there is a
commitment to fund the Phoenix Centre for Children and Families, which
provides mental health services in the region.
"We are very pleased to see that Premier McGuinty has reacted quickly to
the Ontario Ombubsman's recommendation that the province ensure funding of
such services. It was the right and moral thing to do," said Emily Noble,
president of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO).
Noble said that ETFO members in the Petawawa area are all too familiar
with the impact of stressful events faced by students who come from military
"As teachers, we can see these children are under a severe level of
stress, and the immediate results are increased emotional problems and
declining academic performance," said ETFO Renfrew Teacher Local President
Alice Paige. "Teachers do their utmost to support their students, but each
child needs and deserves much more. Increased locally accessible resources are
Noble explained that ETFO is undertaking a number of initiatives to help
its members better understand the needs of children from military families.
The ETFO Hastings-Prince Edward Teacher Local, for example, has arranged
for the staff member from the Trenton base Family Resource Centre to do a
presentation to all ETFO stewards about the cycle of deployment and its effect
on students. The ETFO Renfrew Teacher Local has contacted every school to
promote a journal for children written and published by one of its members.
The journal encourages children to record their thoughts, feelings, and
concerns when affected by military deployment.
"ETFO members will continue to work with school boards and local support
groups to ensure that appropriate support is being provided to children in
need," said Noble.
The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents more than
70,000 public elementary school teachers and education workers across Ontario
and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.
For further information:
For further information: Larry Skory, ETFO Communications, (416)
962-3836 (office), (416) 948-0195 (cell)