Minister of Social Development and Seniors Ministry Budget 2021/22
Good morning Bermuda, thank you for joining us today. I am grateful for the opportunity to share the plans and initiatives of the Ministry of Social Development and Seniors for the 2021-2022 budget year.
I want to take a moment to express that the Government recognises that while Bermuda's economy has provided opportunities and a comfortable lifestyle for many, this is not the reality for all.
The reality is, there are individuals in our community who have not had equal access to opportunities or a comfortable lifestyle. They have struggled and needed support for the basics of housing, food, education, and health care.
Additionally, due to Bermuda's economic disruptions this past year, we have witnessed families experience further financial hardships. While it may seem that 'more money' is the solution, economic challenges also have social consequences.
With this in mind, our focus for the Ministry is ensuring social policies and services are in place to address the challenges associated with supporting and protecting the most vulnerable in our community.
For the fiscal year 2021-2022, our Ministry has received a budget allocation of $23,733,000, and we are responsible for:
• The Department of Child and Family Services
• Ageing and Disability Services
• The K Margaret Carter Centre
• The Human Rights Commission
• and Charities.
In recognition of the importance of this Ministry, and that this Government prioritises social development, we have been allocated a budget that has increased funds available for this financial year.
However, the exercise of allocating to stay within budget was not an easy task, especially when we are being asked to stay within a certain ceiling. Then we have to evaluate whether the services in our Ministries are providing value to our community, this can be a very daunting task. Knowing that defunding can be the reason why organizations fold, is a heavy decision but sometimes necessary.
However, with many third sector organizations knocking on our door for funding as they assist with helping the most vulnerable, we have managed to still provide to our third sector. Please recognize that not all of our third sector is financially covered so as a community we still have to do our part by giving to help our community when we can.
At this time, I will share some of the Ministry's priorities for the next fiscal year.
Grants and Contributions
Seventeen percent (17%) of the Ministry's budget, or $4,031,000, has been allocated to invest in programmes and services that align with the Ministry's mission, display a genuine financial need, and ensure value for our money. This includes:
• Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) for Age Concern.
• One Million three hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($1,350,000) for rest homes including Packwood rest home.
• One Hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) for the Women’s Resource Centre to provide support services for disadvantaged women and their families as part of their transformational support services program.
• Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) for care of the blind.
• Forty eight thousand dollars ($48,000) for meals on wheels.
• Five hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($550,000) for the Salvation Army to provide an emergency shelter on North Street.
• Six hundred thousand dollars ($600,000) for Summerhaven.
• Thirteen thousand dollars ($13,000) for tomorrow’s voices to provide early intervention services to children with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities.
• Eight hundred and ninety thousand dollars ($890,000) for foster fees.
• Three hundred and seventy five thousand dollars ($375,000) for Teen Services
• Seventy Five Thousand dollars ($75,000) for cross Ministry initiative on housing and treatment of families in crisis.
A National Seniors Strategy
In recognising that we have an ageing population, we are passionate about developing a National Seniors Strategy that emphasises Dementia care and a prevention plan for Seniors' abuse.
Ageing and Disability Services (ADS)
We have allocated $1,013,000 to help seniors and persons with physical, cognitive, or developmental disabilities by connecting those who need help with relevant services and resources.
Ageing and Disability Services also play a critical role in mitigating senior abuse. They investigate senior abuse cases and enforce the Senior Abuse Register Act 2008.
We will bring legislation forward to replace the Child Placement Board with a Children's Commission.
The Commission's remit is advocacy for children in care by promoting programmes, services, and best policy responses to meet their needs.
Child Safeguarding Act 2019
We have allocated $216,000 to meet the requirements of the Child Safeguarding Act 2019.
This Act is crucial to children's well-being as it provides physical and psychological assistance to a child victim of a sexual offence and a child who is the perpetrator of a sexual offence.
Independent Living Coordinators
We are happy to announce that children in our care will no longer 'age out' of our support once they turn 18 years old.
In fact, $600,000 has been allocated to support children in our care that may still require our assistance with housing, post-secondary education, career guidance, and physical and mental healthcare.
Referral, Assessment, and Counselling Services
We have allocated $1,210,000 to continue strengthening and supporting families at risk who are experiencing challenges related to behaviour, trauma, social, family, school, and/or substances.
Residential Treatment Services
We have allocated a total of $7,643,000 to provide residential services to children to reduce their risk level, increase positive coping skills, reduce problem behaviours, and increase reunification options with family or appropriate alternative placement.
Presently, there are two (2) community-based group homes and clinical services designed to respond to adolescents at risk between the ages of twelve (12) and eighteen (18) years old.
We have included $2,325,000 for these homes to provide care and protection to young people who need residential care and intervention due to abuse/neglect.
All Residential Treatment Services are driven by a comprehensive individual service plan that includes intervention and clinical strategies for all aspects of the young person's life.
Case Managing Bermuda's Foster Children
We have allocated $2,634,000 to support the 100 children who will receive foster care services this fiscal year due to abuse and neglect.
The programme's overall aim is to provide foster children with a standard of living equal to their Bermudian peers.
The Happy Valley Child Care Centre (HVCCC)
We have allocated $1,030,000 to provide quality child care in a safe and positive atmosphere that promotes healthy development for the whole child.
The Happy Valley Child Care Centre's overall aim is to provide stimulating activities for children aged 3 months to 4 years old, which encourages learning through exploration, discovery, and creativity.
UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
We have sought an extension of this Convention to Bermuda to reaffirm that all individuals can enjoy fundamental human rights and freedoms, irrespective of their type of disability.
K. Margaret Carter Centre (KMCC)
We have allocated $1,751,000 for the operational costs of providing daily living skills, social functioning coaching, and vocational training for adults with various intellectual and/or physical disabilities.
The K. Margaret Carter Centre empowers adults with the tools required for an independent and supported living while also enhancing their ability to be more productive members of society.
We have a group of senior managers assigned with developing a homeless strategy that focuses on individual circumstances. The initial goal is to assist those at the acute end of the spectrum of homelessness first.
Complex Multiple Treatment Programs
We have allocated $509,000 for the provision of treatment and support for persons with complex multiple disability treatment needs.
In closing, we want to reassure you that the Government recognises that our Country's success is contingent on our residents' well-being.
Our Ministry is committed to ensuring that all of our residents have opportunities to reach their full potential and maintain their well-being. However, please keep in mind that this mission does not stop at this Ministry, or the Government alone, we all have a part to play.