MONCTON (GNB) – People who work in New Brunswick group homes are getting an increase in pay.

“We know how rewarding it is to work with young people, and we appreciate the dedication of those who are employed in the sector,” said Families and Children Minister Stephen Horsman. “I am proud to be able to announce this investment in them and to thank them for the care they provide every day.”

One of the key roles of the Department of Social Development is to provide support to children and youth who are in the care of the minister of families and children.

There are 14 agencies in New Brunswick that operate 34 group homes, with more than 150 licensed beds. About 400 people will benefit from an increase of 40 cents per hour.

Group homes are operated by non-profit agencies and receive funding from the department through signed contracts, which cover their administrative and operational costs, including staff wages.

“This is a great first step in moving toward wage parity for our workforce,” said Mel Kennah, president of the New Brunswick Association of Youth Residential Services and executive director of Impact Youth in Moncton. “The member agencies of the New Brunswick Association of Youth Residential Services see this wage increase as part of an ongoing conversation with Social Development and as part of a larger commitment to bring stability to recruitment and retention challenges for our workforce.”

Kennah said it is important to recognize the role group home workers play in helping at-risk youth.