Hungry little belly has no ears

The news came to us through the first newsletter of the school, between the sections “Personal Objects” and “Information Meeting”, a paragraph headed “Snacks – Daycare”. It is not good news.
It goes as follows: “Take note that for the moment, it is your responsibility to provide a snack to your child since the possible loss of subsidy that allowed to make the purchase requires us to put this service on hold. You can add the snack to your child’s lunch box. The latter must respect the Policy for Healthy Eating and a Physically Active Lifestyle of the La Capitale School Board. It must therefore include a fruit, a vegetable or a dairy product. We will notify you if this service is reinstated. “

It is not a problem at home, the fridge is full.

This is not the case everywhere.

I know that the management of the Saint-Fidèle school did not take this decision of gaiety of heart, it was already some years that it maintained the service at arm’s length with always less money, to allow the children to eat a good snack before the end of the day.

But here she can not do it anymore.

It means that the children whose lunch box was pitiful will do a little more pity, that their belly will be a little more empty. Last year, a mother made a call to everyone on a Facebook group – it was for another school – for a student in her daughter’s class who ate only ketchup sandwiches.

Without a snack, it will be another ketchup sandwich.

In fact, this year, there will be no collation provided in class in Quebec, the food aid envelope has been replaced by measure 15 016 (which was adopted by the Liberals) which provides for the financing of lunches in the most disadvantaged schools. So far, schools had a choice between the two.

No more now, we put all the eggs in one basket.

The only choice they have now is to do business with the Breakfast Club or with another organization, schools in the Quebec City region are served by the Blue Gable, which has nourished students for 25 years. Since its creation, the organization has served 10 million snacks.

Last year it was over 5000 a day.

From now on, the Blue Gable will do these lunches, which is good in itself, knowing the importance of having something in the stomach to start the day. Hungry little belly has no ears, and hungry little bellies, there are many more than we think in our schools.

And there will be more.

In Quebec as elsewhere, schools that received a boost have learned that they will not receive more from next year, the Minister of Education Jean-Francois Roberge announced August 22 that the government was going fund the service this year to make “a smooth transition”.

It is a reprieve.

What you need to know in order to understand all this jumble of fight in food aid is that the Ministry had not revised its grid for 10 years, that it relied so far on census data from … 2006. Taking the 2016 data now, the picture changes dramatically, neighborhoods – like Limoilou – have gone from poor to poor overnight.

The bureaucracy has its own logic, we identify the schools that are entitled to food aid from the IMSE – the index of the socio-economic environment – which is calculated from the schooling of the mother and the child. occupation of parents. For example, a child who does not have enough to eat has to attend one of the most disadvantaged schools in the city in order to be entitled to a lunch.

Otherwise, it goes under the table.

The calculation gives a deprivation index of 1 to 10, and we help schools with an index between 7 and 10. In Quebec, schools that have lost their grant have seen their “deprivation index” go up, good news that in bad cache, students who have needs will have fewer services.

As if it were not already complicated enough, the child care food aid program is based on another index, the LICO, the low income cut-off index, based on the proportion of families who live near the poverty line. It is this program that is pending at the Saint-Fidèle school, since the calculations are known in October.

This school is not the only one to be in uncertainty. “Last year, we served 16 schools for snacks in the daycare and this year, it’s about ten. Of course we’re losing a lot of kids, “said Roseline Roussel, Executive Director of the Blue Gable. And, she takes care to emphasize, “it is not only students from disadvantaged families who have needs.”

Even among the rich, lunch boxes sometimes pity.

With the new rules, instead of helping more children in child care, there is less help, only schools with an index between 8 and 10 will receive money. “Before, we joined schools with a score of 7 and we fought for 5 and 6. The schools call us to find solutions, there would be seven who could lose the help they had. We are trying to find strategies. ”

One more puzzle for the return.

The new calculations particularly affect central neighborhood schools like Limoilou and Saint-Roch, where better-off residents have moved in over the years. In the case of the school Berges, some argue that the school is a victim of the success of its program – paying – concentration of sports and artistic – my big is one of them – which distorts the calculation of income, the mean is not representative of the global reality.

As a result, children are getting sick.

At the school board of the capital, this year we have planned “a transitional fund for the most affected schools,” says communications consultant Marie-Elaine Dion, while agreeing that the amounts granted could be lower than those they received. “There are so many needs, schools have to make choices. For some, it’s the snack, for others it’s something else. ”

M me Dion speaks to me of another program, the Acting otherwise Intervention Strategy (NANS), which allocates to schools amounts for different services. “Schools that have an index of 7 are now included, in addition to 8, 9 and 10. […] But what is misleading is that it is the same global envelope, so the sums will be smaller for schools. We divide the pie into smaller pieces. ”

Schools will have to make choices, again.

Reduce services.

And we want to give a layer with kindergarten four years.

What I see is that the tyranny of the average makes a lot of people out of hand. In schools that qualify for food assistance, all students receive food so that disadvantaged students are not ostracized, in schools that do not qualify, all students have nothing.

We therefore accept that students continue to have an empty stomach, that they continue to eat ketchup sandwiches, for the simple reason that the others are not poor enough.

Let them be told that good management means making choices.

And do not make a fuss.

SFR: “The low income cut-off is defined as the level of income by which families are estimated to spend 20% more than the overall average on food, shelter and clothing. It provides information to estimate the proportion of families whose incomes may be considered low, taking into account the size of the family and the area of ​​residence. “*
IMSE: “The IMSE is the proportion of families with children whose mothers do not have a diploma, certificate or degree [which is two-thirds of the weight of the index] and the proportion of households whose parents were not employed during the Canadian Census reference week. “*
SNAA: Established in 2002 in secondary schools and in January 2008 in primary schools, the SIAA enables disadvantaged schools to obtain additional funding to improve, in particular, the learning of reading and mathematics.

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