Hills News article 3rd April 2012
Andrew Constance, NSW Disabilities Minister, Hears the Children!
Parents who fought to keep Hear the Children open have been vindicated with news the service will receive $277,000 in recurrent funding.
After three years battling for funds, the early intervention service have secured their longevity with annual funding from Disability Services minister Andew Constance.
The service provides free early intervention therapy that teaches hearing impaired children from six weeks to six years old to listen and speak.
The service’s driving force, co-president Yvonne Keane, said the funding was a huge relief for the mothers who had tirelessly campaigned for the service.
‘‘This funding is the culmination of 24 months of constant negotiation and discussion with the government, often with my children in tow, and now places this extraordinary service on the sure footing it deserves,’’ Mr Keane said.
Hear the Children has operated for over 38 years with no significant government funding.
The service was faced with closure in 2009 before a group of mothers, led by Mrs Keane, took over the service and continued it as a community run business model.
‘‘I have fallen completely in love with The Hills community who have carried the service by whole heartedly supporting our fundraising events,’’ Mrs Keane said.
‘‘Throughout this time I have seen many children come to spoken language —if not for the ongoing support we have received from our generous community these children may not otherwise have had the opportunity to speak.’’
Mr Constance, who has visited the centre many times, said he had seen the work they do first-hand.
‘‘Hear the Children do wonderful work in providing early intervention services for hearing impaired children, and I look forward to seeing this continue long into the future,’’ Mr Constance said.
‘‘Early intervention is absolutely critical, because we know that serious problems can arise later in life when it comes to a child’s ability to interact with people.’’
‘‘This recurrent funding will help strengthen the broader service system’s capacity to support children with a hearing impairment,’’ he said.
Mrs Keane offered a heartfelt thanks to Mr Constance, the Hills News, and the community.
‘‘Because of your efforts and support the hearing impaired children who are currently enrolled in Hear the Children, and importantly those who are yet to be born who will benefit from this service, will continue to receive the miraculous gift of speech,’’ Mrs Keane said.
‘‘You have changed the world — thank you.’