When loved ones become sick, the primary caregivers are often immediate family members and the province is lending a helping hand by reducing the respite waiting list.

More than 1,300 additional families with children with special needs are going to benefit from respite services offered by qualified caregivers.

Minister of Children and Family Development Katrine Conroy said the government is investing $6.3 million dollars in the provincial respite program and a huge chunk of that is going to reducing the respite waitlist.

“This announcement is just our first step in addressing the issue that was ignored and allowed to get worse,” said Conroy. “We’re dedicating $5 million dollars to reduce the respite waitlist.”

The remaining $1.3 million dollars is going to increase the base annual funding each family can receive by $280 dollars, from $2,800 to $3,080 dollars.

Conroy said this is the first boost to the amount each family can receive since 1989.

“We’re also boosting the base amount for respite funding that families receive,” said Conroy. “This amount was established in 1989 and has never been increased, that’s 30 years ago, it is unfathomable to think that the same amount of money has been paid out for 30 years.”

Conroy promised that this is just the beginning of the work involved to reduce the respite waitlist and provide families with additional funding, two issues that were ignored for a long time.