HALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s early intervention programs will see their funding nearly double over the next three years.
A review of the programs released Tuesday by Education Minister Karen Casey recommends the government improve them and provide better access to them.
Casey said $2.6 million will be invested in the programs over the course of the government’s mandate, in addition to the $2.7 million already allocated for them.
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The increase in funding is intended to reduce waiting lists and offer better access to early intervention and support staff.
“We have gotten a lot better in the province at early identification. The key now is the intervention,” Casey said.
According to the review, the issue of long wait times is preventing many children from accessing the programs. There are currently 1,000 children receiving early intervention services in Nova Scotia, while more than 300 are on waiting lists.
There are currently 38 interventionists looking after those cases, and Casey said the province is looking to hire 10 to 16 more.
“We will begin to hire immediately and those hires will be to address the areas where we have the greatest wait list,” she said.
The review also raised the issue of wages — the average salary for an early interventionist in Nova Scotia is about $32,000, which is the lowest in Canada. Casey said the government will commit to increasing wages over the next three years.
“I can tell you that the wages will improve,” she said. “They have to improve.”
Read the review’s recommendations:
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