A rally in support of Starbright Children’s Development Centre is planned for Sat. Feb 4.
The fight to save the non-profit agency has also taken to social media. A small group of parents has started a ‘Support Starbright!’ Facebook page and there is also a petition aimed at the provincial government.
Funding for the non-profit agency was diverted by the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) to a newly created pilot Family Connection Centre (FCC) in Kelowna, leaving hundreds of families unsure exactly how services will be provided for their children. It is one of four FCCs that will be operated by for-profit organizations.
While Starbright has transitional funding until the end of June, it will eventually close.
Support Starbright! has grown to 600 members since it was started just over two weeks ago.
“What has been amazing is how parents have flooded the MLA’s offices with their own personal stories and the success stories of their children after receiving services at Starbright,” said Amy Johnston, founding member.
“These parents have busy lives, so being able to carve out a bit of time to tell their story has been incredibly valuable to our cause.”
Membership consists primarily of Starbright parents past and present, along with community and sector organizations
that have joined in support
The petition addressed to the Legislative, requests the following:
- To keep Starbright funded as the focus for children under 6 while the pilot program at ARC is established for children who have already made the transition to the school system and can be supported through the pilot, Family Connection Centre;
- We ask that it be made public how the pilot project for children and youth K-19 is operating;
- We ask the MCFD to engage with parents and impacted professionals working in the childhood development sectors to seek their feedback on the implementation of the hub model;
- We ask that there is a strategy that maintains current services while testing out a new concept so that the care and needs of children ahead of all else, are preserved.
“The support of our petition has been quite overwhelming,” said organizer Tia Faarup. “It speaks volumes to the level of support that the community has for Starbright.”
The petition can be found here, and Support Starbright! on Facebook.
The rally will be held in front of Starbright, 1546 Bernard Avenue, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
“Anyone and everyone are encouraged to come out to Starbright Saturday morning to show support for the families as they come together and lean on each other,” added Faarup.
“Even if all you can do is give us a honk as you drive by and help us make some noise. We are hopeful that the voices of parents will be heard in the Legislature next week when the MLAs return to Victoria.”
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