A Community Partnership Since 2003
Early Childhood Agreement
In September 2000, the First Ministers signed the Early Childhood Development Agreement, committing to action in four areas
- Promoting healthy pregnancy, birth and infancy
- Improving parenting and family supports
- Strengthening early childhood development (ECD), learning and care
- Strengthening Community Supports
As a result of this agreement, each province and territory was promised federal funding over 5 years (2001-2006), to improve ECD outcomes for children from birth to age six. BC’s share was $291 million. The BC Government chose to use some of this federal funding to launch Children First Initiatives in 14 communities across the province, including Richmond.
Richmond Children First
Richmond Children First has been active as a community partnership since 2003. Initially, Richmond Children First focused on early child development, researching and responding to growing evidence that a child’s experiences during the first 5 years of life has a profound and lasting impact on long term social, emotional and physical development. The initial objectives of Richmond Children First were: increasing community capacity; increasing service delivery effectiveness; engaging of “hard to reach” families; and, increasing opportunities for early identification and screening to improve outcomes for children and families.
In 2006, Richmond was one of 4 communities selected by United Way of the Lower Mainland as a demonstration site to focus on local planning – to explore how, through community partnerships, services and supports can be improved for school-aged children. Richmond Children First was invited to host the project because of its cross-sectoral representation and history of community engagement.
Until 2011, Richmond Children First and Richmond Middle Childhood Matters operated as separate community initiatives. However during that time, joint projects were implemented and the Steering Committees overseeing the two initiatives met regularly. In June 2011, the two initiatives began to merge with the understanding that the merger would be evaluated as part of the strategic planning process early in 2012. This merger was affirmed as a success during the 2012 strategic planning process.