Adverse Childhood Experiences Conference

September 20, 2018

The Inter Agency Committee for Children and Families [IAC], in partnership with Family Centre, will host a conference to raise awareness of Adverse Childhood Experiences [ACEs] on Thursday, October 11 and Friday, October 12.

A spokesperson said, “On October 11th and 12th the Inter Agency Committee for Children and Families [IAC], in partnership with Family Centre, will host a conference to raise awareness of Adverse Childhood Experiences [ACEs], and how to strengthen systems that help children and families who face adversity and trauma. This partnership is the IAC’s next step in its long history of advocating for and building capacity of agencies working towards better outcomes for children.

Nadine Lapsley-Dyer, Vice-Chair of the IAC, said, “As have been previously stated, our overall vision is for a Bermuda where all children are healthy, happy, secure, empowered and learning self-sufficiency. We want them to grow up to be positive, contributing members of society. Resources have been allocated by the Government to provide a range of social services for children and families and to secure the progressive realisation of rights, notwithstanding prevailing economic conditions.

“As a result, many children in Bermuda are protected within functional and loving families. Legal and practiced mechanisms are in place to facilitate this. However, where this does not exist, there is an ethical imperative to ensure that those children have access to benefits and services which they need and are entitled to. There is an undeniable link between sound social policy, social investment in children, and economic development and productivity.”

She continued, “The IAC and its stakeholders are working to identify and intervene in the areas of health and education; helping to strengthen relevant organizations to fulfil their mandate; improving the social safety net for families and helping to protect children from all forms of abuse. This conference brings a focus to the community that is important and critical to support the healthy development of family on this island.”

The IAC said, “The IAC’s targeted work on trauma began in 2009 and 2010 when the IAC convened relevant professionals in social service organizations, and individuals from the private and public sectors to clarify Bermuda’s changing social service needs and promote collaborative solutions.

“The IAC hosted three convening meetings in partnership with the Ministry of Culture and Social Rehabilitation, the Department of Health, Centre on Philanthropy, Bermuda National Standards Committee, Donor’s forum, Atlantic Philanthropies and the Non-Profit Executive Leadership Forum. The meetings succeeded in capturing information regarding who is providing services and to what populations and identified gaps in services for children and families.

“The participants at the convenings identified Bermuda’s number one social threat as ‘unhealthy relationships’ due to Multi-Generational Unaddressed Trauma. The convening concluded that unresolved, longstanding family and societal issues were the cause of persistent and worsening current ‘symptoms’ such as gang violence and academic challenges.

“The IAC presented findings from the convening to the various Government Ministries and Ministers received a brief introduction on the impact of Multi-Generational Unaddressed Trauma, along with recommendations to reduce it.

“Since these convening meetings, the IAC’s widely-attended trainings have heavily focused on addressing multi-generational trauma. Between 2011 and 2017, trainings have included topics such as Stress and Secondary Trauma in the Work Place: What Supervisors Can Do in Response, Understanding and Resolving Multi-Generational Trauma, Becoming an Agency that Successfully Addresses Trauma, Building a Trauma Response into Your Practice, Prevention and Early Intervention with Multi-Generational Trauma: Building Resilience in Clients, Success-Focused Case Management, What Should Human Service Providers Do About Gangs, Expanding Your Tool Kit for Working with Families, and the Saving Our Vital Services [SOS] project.

“From 2012-2015, the IAC embarked on separate but related effort to create a National Children’s Agenda of Priorities, that would incorporate a trauma-lens into a broad research-based perspective on the critical needs facing Bermuda’s children and families. The National Children’s Agenda included 8 priority areas: healthy lifestyles and healthy outcomes, living with dignity, a nurturing and restorative culture, recovery from trauma, education necessary to earn a living wage, fulfilment of greatest potential, positive parent tools, and an empowered and participatory community. Recommendations within each priority area maintain connection with addressing or preventing adversity and trauma experienced by children.

“The IAC’s partnership with Family Centre in hosting the ACEs conference continues the organization’s legacy of raising awareness and capacity to respond to adversity facing Bermuda’s children. This conference will bring together local and international stakeholders to strengthen awareness of adverse childhood experiences and collectively to consider how to best support systems that help children and families who face adversity. As a part of the conference, the IAC will host a pre-conference workshop featuring the documentary film Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope, highlighting the impact of toxic stress and exploring how to overcome adversity. The $12 pre-conference workshop will be held on September 28th from 2pm-4pm at BUEI.

“If interested in registering for the pre-conference workshop, please email by Wednesday September 26th. If you would like to register for the conference on Adverse Childhood Experiences being held on October 11th and 12th, please email or call 232-1116 and speak with Thalia Lightbourne, or Dr. Stephanie Guthman. The IAC encourages all members of the community to attend the pre-conference workshop and 2-day conference.”

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