Strategic plan for vulnerable children desperately needed

Re: Valley children top Valley concern Recently we read about the presentation that Dr. Hasselback made to the Cowichan Valley Regional District in regards to the health challenges the community faces. Dr. Hasselback is quite clearly concerned about the wellbeing of children in our community, teens amongst them, as his strongest argument was for the CVRD to create strategic plan to deal with this most vulnerable sector.

We at Growing Together, for 22 years now, have been assisting and supporting these young teens and their children.

While some teens may be dealing with acne, school exams and planning and getting excited about what to wear to their graduation, these young women are struggling with diaper rash, the complexities of a new vocabulary, loss of friendships and when will they ever get

rest so very badly needed by teens, these teens are up at night dealing with colicky, teething or even sick babies.

While yet others are considering choices such as future schooling or occupation, which may or may not impact their lives forever, these young people are being asked today to make decisions that will.

What about the start and often frightening realization that one is responsible for another’s life, wellbeing, future?

All pretty daunting tasks for someone as young as 15!

Hard? You bet it’s hard and they need and deserve all the help we as a community can afford them.

As a small non-profit, we are limited in funds to do more but more is needed to break the pattern of poverty and vulnerability that may lay ahead for the children of these parents.

Each and every year, we are doing our best to provide high quality childcare so they can complete their education, food for their kids so they are assured

of a nutritious meal, clothing swaps, parenting guidance and supportive counselling to help them face some pretty adult issues in their still very young lives.

By completing their education, our teen parents are modeling the importance of commitment and determination. Graduating from high school puts them on the road to having a career that will support their children in so very many ways.

We will continue on doing what we can and we are confident that the CVRD will see the wisdom of creating the strategic plan to deal with all of the vulnerable children of the Cowichan Valley.

As well, we look forward to other positive community wide solutions for the problems that beset our Valley’s children including the report’s identified significant and ongoing high rates of teen pregnancy and resulting parenthood.

Katherine Barwick vice chair Growing Together Child and Parent Society

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