Excerpts from the report:
This special report on early childhood development highlights the reflections arising from the Healthy Child BC Forum held in November 2004, which was attended by international experts on child health and early childhood development, and practitioners and policy makers from across British Columbia. In addition, the report sets out the Child and Youth Officer's recommendations, which are based not only on those reflections, but also on numerous studies, plans and reports on the subject, as well as on discussions with policy makers, service providers and advocates.
The Child and Youth Officer's advice to the provincial government is as follows:
- Take a long-term view &em; longer than the four-year political cycle of the provincial government and the even shorter cycle of relevant ministers.
-Articulate a British Columbia early childhood development plan in the context of the fundamental human rights of children.
- See the plan as a "whole government" plan, and commit to its implementation at the premier and cabinet level.
- Designate and support the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) as the lead ministry to implement the plan.
- Provincially expect linkages, collaborative planning and action at the regional level among the Ministry of Children and Family Development and its Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal authorities, the health authorities and the school boards.
- Work in partnership with Aboriginal communities to integrate the province's plan with an Aboriginal plan developed by Aboriginal communities, and take a leadership role in making federal and provincial funding criteria and processes consistent with the Aboriginal plan.
- Allocate funding envelopes, with appropriate and supportive accountability mechanisms, to community tables for community-based planning and delivery of early childhood development services.
- Provide child care funding in a way that demonstrably supports quality and choice.
- Invest strategically in specialized services for children with health and developmental challenges.
- Put in place an evaluation and public accountability framework.