Supporting tomorrow's leaders

By Estefania Cortes-Vargas, MLA for Strathcona-Sherwood Park

I have spent many years working with children-including some of the most vulnerable in the province.

Supporting Alberta families is a main focus for our government.

That’s why I applaud Premier Rachel Notley for creating the Children’s Services Ministry. Today’s children will become tomorrow’s policy makers, innovators and leaders. We would be doing a great disservice to ourselves if we didn’t give children the very best start in life. They deserve to be safe, secure and happy.

The Children’s Service Ministry will help support those vulnerable children, whose homes may no longer be a safe space. With the new ministry, there will be more resources and more attention dedicated to children, their families and their communities.

This can only be a good thing as our government works tirelessly to improve the child intervention system. The Children’s Services Ministry is also responsible for child care, and early learning and development programs.

Supporting Alberta families is a main focus for our government. The Alberta Child Benefit (ACB), a new program introduced last year, has helped an estimated 200,000 children. This additional money means tens of thousands of low-income families can ensure they can give a better quality of life for their children - nutritious food on the table, a warm coat in the winter, or even some new books.

In addition, the Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit (AFETC), which provides assistance to low-and middleincome working Strathcona-Sherwood Park families who meet the income guideline just need to file a tax return to be eligible for both the ACB and AFETC. You are automatically enrolled in both of these programs if you are enrolled for the federal government‘s Canada Child Tax Benefit.

I’d also like to encourage families in my constituency to take advantage of the programs available through Energy Efficiency Alberta. The Residential Retail Products supports families looking to reduce their energy use with rebates on energy-saving appliances, insulation, lighting and water-heating products. In addition, the Residential No-Cost Energy Savings Program offers free access to and installation of energy efficiency products such as LED lightbulbs and low-flow shower heads.

For more information on any of these programs, or if you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 780-416-2492 or; or if you prefer to stop by an

First published in the Sherwood Park News Fri. Feb. 3, 2017