County hopes to launch new family program in new year

by Vance Gutzman

The County of Renfrew is doing everything it can to resurrect the early childhood program for young families in Deep River, Laurentian Hills and Head, Clara and Maria.

That was the message handed down at county council’s most recent meeting.

The county, as previously reported, announced its intentions in August to issue a request for proposal that would allow existing not-for-profit boards the opportunity to apply to operate the EarlyON program here in North Renfrew.

The program, formerly known as the Family Enrichment Centre (FEN) Early Years Centre, was established back in 1989 as a drop-in centre for young parents and their children, and expanded in North Renfrew to three locations – in Deep River, Chalk River and Point Alexander.

The EarlyON program that FEN transitioned to was run under auspices of the county, which took on the mandate at the beginning of this year by order of provincial legislation.

FEN worked hard to make the adjustments required by the new provincial mandates and programs, but this past spring its board chose to end its operations, amid an outpouring of anguish from many in the community.

Paul Moreau, in one of his last roles as the county’s director of social services before assuming the chief administrative officer’s mantle, told county council that the RFP to bring the EarlyON program back has indeed been issued, with a closing date of October 27.

“We’ll start the review process as soon as we have a list,” he assured the county’s mayors and reeves.

“We hope to have that up and running again in the new year.”

> for the full story, pick up a copy of the Oct. 10 NRT…