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Understanding the Changes to Early Learning Funding

What is PUF?

Program unit funding (PUF) is a grant for early learning programs for children aged 2.8-4.8 years old with a variety of severe delays or disabilities. This grant has been changed and replaced with a new funding structure, altering the length of funding for each eligible child.

reduction per child graphic

 Supports PUF provides graphic Kindergarten students no longer qualify for this funding, they are instead covered under a new grant, however, the same amount of funding has not been redirected to this grant.
No funding graphicThe new funding framework does not provide any funding for early intervention programming supports for families to directly participate in individual programing with their child, which supports children during critical developmental periods.

developmental stage graphicWaiting to provide intervention once children enter school misses a critical developmental window is less effective, and costs more for the system, both in terms of the financial impact and in social costs such as literacy levels and high school completion.

What has it meant for our division?

  • While it’s too soon for a complete evaluation, we are concerned about impacts on literacy skills and language development.
  • Therapy time for students has been reduced – speech therapy and occupational therapy have been reduced by 50% and psychological supports by more than 85%.
  • Where we used to have six children with severe disabilities or delays in a class, we now have 10, with the same number of staff as before.
  • The criteria to qualify for funding has changed, reducing the number of children who qualify and leaving out many who need early intervention.

Funding changes graphic Reduced access to Alberta Health Services’ assessments to determine who qualifies for funding.

Reduced supports and training for staff and parents of medically-complex children.

what we would like to see graphic

St. Albert Public Schools