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Over half a million dollars invested in new childcare spaces

Early childcare in Lloydminster is seeing over $500,000 in funding from Saskatchewan and the City bearing fruit as the new look Lloydminster Early Years Family Resource Centre held its official opening on Friday.

The sound of drumming from the Prairie Thunder Boys and the Indigenous land acknowledgment heralded the expansion of services for early childhood at the Midwest Family Connections location in the Prairie North Plaza.

A grant from the Saskatchewan government of $215,000 supported the initial planning and development work including new flooring, paint, furniture and play structures as well as hiring and training new staff.  The City of Lloydminster added $30,000 for an outdoor play space that is expected to open this fall.

Another grant from Saskatchewan of $265,000 was received to support the ongoing
operations and program delivery and a further investment of $75,000 is coming to support and maintain program design with the latest research and knowledge catering to families and children.

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The investment comes through the Lloydminster Public School Division as the accountable partner to Midwest Family Connections. The programs and services also cater for parents and caregivers of children from birth to five years.

Sherri Husch-Foote, executive director with MFC says the most significant thing about the resource centre is that they recognize the value of family as the most important asset in a child’s life. She sees the work as providing critical resources.

“We know that for every dollar invested in the early years, we save $17 later across systems. So not only is the centre a place for families and children to really be able to interconnect with each other – to build that knowledge, skill resource and confidence to be the best families they can be, for children to grow up great and for them to be connected to community, but it also has a lifelong impact in the legacy of our community.”

The Lloydminster Early Years Family Resource Centre or LEYFRC got its pre-existing funding from Alberta Children’s Services via the Alberta Family Resource Network model established in 2020.

Saskatchewan MLA for Lloydminster Colleen Young noted the ongoing growth in the community, the expanding numbers at daycares and schools and that Midwest Family Connections recognizes the importance of supporting families.

With regard to building a legacy, Young sees the value of children growing up and even going on to further studies, but then coming back to grow their own families and be part of the ongoing development of the midwest community.

“As our city grows, I think not just Midwest Family Connections – knowing what those supports are for young children. I think city council, the school divisions – any facility that we build or create in the community, keeps in mind – family. And I think that’s the important part of it.”

Clint Chocan, the First Nations and Inuit coordinator with the LPSD noted the symbolism of the tree in the new logo of the centre saying, “A large tree will use its roots to protect the little tree – to nurture it and ensure that it grows.”

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The LEYFRC has been operational since the fall.

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