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Support for children, youth and families in the North

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SMITHERS – Over 650 children and their families in the North will benefit from an investment to unite the Bulkley Valley Child Development Centre’s two Smithers centres into one integrated, inclusive and accessible regional location to provide enhanced support for children and youth.

“Children are the future of British Columbia, and we want to ensure that their lives are rich with opportunities to play, learn and grow, regardless of where they live in the province,” said Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson. “This funding will help the society to consolidate its services and better support families living in remote Northern communities who may not have the same access as children in more urban areas. This is an investment in children and in rural development.”

The society is receiving $300,000 from the Provincial Health Services Authority to support the Society’s Project Pinwheel – Give Today to Build Tomorrow. The funding will assist the society to develop new specialized sensory motor and therapy rooms, as well as assessment rooms and increase accessibility throughout the centre, located at 1471 Columbia Drive in Smithers. These improvements will help improve rural health-care services and put supports in place to ensure children grow up in safe and nurturing environments. The renovation is expected to be completed by early summer 2018.

“Families are the heart of our work and we offer early services and supports for children, youth and their families throughout our region,” said Executive Director of the Bulkley Valley Child Development Centre, Kerri Bassett. “We are very grateful for this funding because this allows us to continue and expand on the critical work we provide to communities in Northern British Columbia.”

The Bulkley Valley Child Development Centre Society offers family-centred health and social services to support the growth and development of children, youth and families in the communities from Atlin to Vanderhoof. The centre supports children from birth through ages 19 and works collaboratively with various community partners and professionals to provide programs such as infant development, Indigenous infant development, support for complex developmental behavioural conditions, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech and language pathology, family service coordination, and other early years programs and outreach services.

“The Child Development Centre is absolutely vital to the care of kids in our communities facing developmental challenges,” said Jaymie Praught, whose child receives services through the Bulkley Valley Child Development Centre.

“We were told our daughter might never walk or speak, but with the help of her team from the CDC, she can now walk with the help of a gait trainer and speak a few words. Their role in her care is crucial to her progress.”

The Bulkley Valley Child Development Centre Society opened its doors on Nov. 23, 1981. The society’s regional facility is in Smithers, and the Society has community-based locations in Hazelton, Burns Lake and Vanderhoof, which support families from over 30 communities in the North. The Bulkley Valley Child Development Centre is one of over 30 child development organizations in British Columbia, and is a member of the B.C. Association of Child Development and Intervention.

Learn more:

To learn more about the Bulkley Valley Child Development Centre Society, visit:
To learn more about the B.C. Association of Child Development and Intervention, visit:

Media contact:

Ministry of Health Communications
250 952-1887 (media line)
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