Maintain appropriate funding for our beloved Parent Link Center!

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**This petition is not directly affiliated with Western Rocky View Family & Community Resource Centre, Parent Link Centre(s), the Boys & Girl's Club, and/or the Town of Cochrane. It has received no endorsement from any of the aforementioned organizations, their staff, or affiliates. This petition is the product of concern from a Cochrane resident, PLC regular patron, and parent.**

Becoming a mother to premature twins in May 2018, I quickly learned the necessity of building a network of kind, non-judgmental friends and supports. I quickly learned the need for trained professionals to help assess my twin's milestones and guide me towards helpful, evidence-based tools. I have used Cochrane's Parent Link Center to combat my own isolation and anxiety, work through parenting challenges and developmental queries with the guidance of trained professionals, socialize and expose my twins to a wide variety of children and families, learn about community resources and events, and find community. Our beloved Parent Link Center also goes above and beyond in it's support of marginalized and vulnerable populations, and though I can't personally speak to these programs, I can only imagine their priceless value both now and as a foundational support for a bright future.

My son thinks all receptionists behind any desk should want to scoop him onto their lap, because the adoring staff at PLC do every time we come in. My daughter can climb well beyond her expected ability from observing the "big kids" at the indoor playground and has come out of her shy bubble. They love finding new books in the library or display. My kids have had the opportunity to practice sharing, caring, compromising, cleaning, singing, and crafting at PLC. I have completed Ages & Stages Questionnaires, which were then marked by trained staff, and returned with suggestions for areas with lower scores. Melissa kindly guides the kids at Toddler Group and dazzles them with her animated singing. Tess is a huge-hearted, grounded, wise, fountain of knowledge and resources who serves our community with such a contagious passion. Tanya is such a welcoming presence, asking about plans for the week, snuggling my twins, and offering to make me a coffee "just because" (...because I look exhausted probably!). These are just a handful of the incredible people who work at Cochrane's Parent Link Center, and who are facing big questions and hard decisions given the current proposed funding model. 

Children's Service's minister Rebecca Schulz has denied our Mayor's request to consider Cochrane a "medium sized" community based on our current census numbers, which would allow our town to apply for $750,000 in funding rather than the current $500,000 being proposed. Currently, Western Rocky View Family & Community Resource Center, Parent Link, and the Boys & Girl's Club receive $850,000 annually between them, meaning that they are only able to apply for 60% of their current funding going forward. As I am not professionally affiliated with any of these organizations, I can not speak to the structural, programming, or employment changes that this cut may dictate, but am asking for your support as one very concerned parent.

Commentary on the government's proposed and actuated attacks on public education and healthcare are a topic for another day, but it only stands to reason that these cuts on primary Children's Services and their vital early intervention programs (such as Parent Link Centres and The Boys and Girls Club), will have fallout elsewhere. As a pediatric nurse whose sister teaches grade 3/4, and are both seeing and bracing for big cuts, I am gravely concerned for the future of Alberta's children and families.

In a world of sunshine filtered social media, Pinterest parenting, and an ever-growing need for genuine connection and community, Cochrane's Parent Link Center bridges a gap that this community needs more than words can ever say. I am more grateful for this resource, it's staff, it's patrons and families, and the gifts it has given our town than words can ever say.

As our Mayor Jeff Genung has stated, "Our FCSS here in Cochrane has been a shining star on delivering social programming." Please sign today to urge our provincial government to recognize Cochrane's size and needs so that our local Children's Services can continue to be a shining star.