County seeks new agency to run FEN early years program

by Vance Gutzman

FEN may be gone, but that doesn’t mean it’s over.

The County of Renfrew issued a statement on Monday that the closure of the EarlyON program in Deep River and Laurentian Hills is only “temporary.”

Formerly known as the Family Enrichment Centre (FEN) Early Years Centre, the program closed its doors this past spring amid an outpouring of anguish from many in the local community.

FEN was established back in 1989 as a drop-in centre for young parents and their children, and expanded in North Renfrew to three locations – in Deep River, Chalk River and Point Alexander.

The EarlyON program it transitioned to was run through auspices of the county, which noted in its media release that there are a number of EarlyON programs operating throughout the county, and they’re considered a popular destination for families and caregivers.

Paul Moreau, the county’s director of social services, said that the transition to the new mandates and programs, as directed by the province, “was challenging for a number of centres and their governing bodies.”

Moreau went on to state that FEN worked hard to make the adjustments, but in the spring the board chose to end its operation, leaving a void in the Deep River and Laurentian Hills area.

“We acknowledge the dedication of the FEN board and its employees,” Moreau stated.

“We are determined to continue FEN’s efforts by trying to find an alternative agency to operate the centre for the children and parents in the Deep River and Laurentian Hills area.”

> for the full story, pick up a copy of the Aug. 29 NRT…