The Best Start program for Island children at risk is getting extra funding.

The program used to follow children for the first three years of life, but in 2004, it was cut to 18 months.

In the run-up to the 2007 election, the Ghiz government campaigned to return to the three-year program. Government did bump that up to 24 months.   

On Monday government followed through on the full three-year promise, adding $60,000 to Best Start — which services about 400 Island babies and their families.

The Best Start program begins at birth, where public health nurses screen newborns to identify children and parents who may need extra help. Then, workers visit the child every week at home.

The program is run by by CHANCES Family Centre in partnership with Public Health Nursing and the six other Family Resource Centres in P.E.I. which include: the Coalition Actions Pour Enfants, Wellington; Mi’Kmaq Family Resource Centre, Charlottetown; Kids West, Alberton; Family Place, Summerside; Families First, Montague; and Main Street Family Resource Centre, Souris.

They answer family questions, provide nutritional information, and play games with the children.

The program will be offered to children up to age three on Sept. 1.