Video: Health Minister On Safety Of Children

November 1, 2018

[Updated] Minister of Health Kim Wilson is holding a press conference this afternoon [Nov 1] with the Ministry saying it is “regarding safety and security of children in care settings.” We will have additional coverage later on and in the meantime the live video is below.

Update: The live broadcast has concluded and the 18-minute replay is below

Update 5.49pm: The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Good afternoon

Thank you for coming today to allow me to provide an update on the actions the Ministry has taken to date to ensure the safety and security of our children in care settings.

As the Ministry responsible for administering the licensing and registration process for Day Care Centres and Day Care Providers in home settings, we are acutely aware of the need for quality care and the history of concerns.

These concerns have been highlighted by the recent report of an infant allegedly suffering a head injury during his time in a day care centre. All affected families have been notified now, so we can advise that the centre in question was Heavenly Blessings Nursery & Preschool.

Regarding this particular case, the Children Act 1988 authorizes the Minister for Social Development and Sport to inform the public of an order in such a manner as he considers appropriate. This was done through Tuesday’s press conference. However, the act prohibits disclosure of information where there is an active investigation. Consequently, no details can be discussed regarding that matter.

Nevertheless, I can give assurance that an investigation is taking place and I want to assure the public we take our responsibility for the care of Bermuda’s children very seriously.

As such, I want to provide an update on the steps we have taken to increase the quality and safety around the care of Bermuda’s children which include the following:

1. We developed and published Child Care Standards for Day Care Providers and Centres in November 2017 and these were updated in June 2018.

2. In September this year Cabinet Approved amending the Children Act 1998 and to:

a. Create a new Child Care Act
b. Establish Day Care Regulations
c. Regulate other child care settings

3. In August of this year, we established a designated resource to review and upgrade all Environmental Health policies and procedures around Day Care.

In addition, we are developing a non-compliance / exception handling policies which will look to create an interagency team to review Day Care concerns and facilitate interventions, learning and improvements as needed.

Parents need to be able to go to work and know and trust that the persons watching and caring for their children will ensure their safety and promote their optimal healthy development.

Our vision, as captured in the Child Care Standards, is a community where parents, care providers and the various Government agencies vigorously collaborate to assure that Bermuda’s children are given the best start in life. We all need to be on the same page and uphold the new standards during these critical early years of our children’s lives.

The Ministry of Health identified the concerns in this sector and has been taking active steps to address them.

I want to close by expressing our deepest sorrow to the family of the infant who is receiving care right now. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Thank you

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