Dozens of people in litigation guardian training
Dozens of people took part in training to help develop the island’s system of independent court advocates for children, the Minister of Social Development and Seniors said last week.
Tinee Furbert added that there was an “overwhelming response” to a call for expressions of interest for new litigation guardians.
She told the House of Assembly: “I am delighted to report that from February 19 to 24, 2022 over 65 Bermudians took part in litigation guardian training sessions hosted by the Ministry of Social Development and Seniors, in collaboration with the office of the Deputy Governor and the United Kingdom Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office.
“Training was conducted utilising a made-for-Bermuda manual developed for the current and potential litigation guardians.
“The weeklong, intensive training was conducted by the UK FCDO consultant Mr Anthony Douglas CBE, former chief executive of England’s Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service – better known as Cafcass.
“Cafcass is a UK quango that represents children in the family court.
“It should be highlighted the UK FCDO has formally provided their continued support to building a sound, fiscally prudent litigation guardian programme for the country.”
Ms Furbert added that the people who took part in the training included employees from the Department of Child and Family Services, Bar Association members, judges and magistrates as well as current and prospective panel members.
She said: “These sessions have undoubtedly strengthened the capacity of those who attended to effectively and compassionately deal with the complex needs of our children in today’s society, especially children who face challenging circumstances and who may have experienced significant trauma.”
Ms Furbert said: “I am pleased to announce that the ministry received an overwhelming response to the expression of interest call for new litigation guardian panel members.
“Following the application process and completion of the training programme, I have selected a total of seven individuals to be appointed to the litigation guardian panel for the year, pending the necessary vetting protocols.”
The House heard that a steering committee will be set up to make sure that the system is “embedded” into the Family Court in line with international standards.
Ms Furbert said: “Before closing I must applaud and express my sincere gratitude to the hard working government employees under the Department of Child and Family Services.
“This past Tuesday, the DCFS team hosted a four-and-a-half hour event, themed ‘Getting to Know the DCFS’.
“A broad range of private and public sector stakeholders attended this event.
“Proudly DCFS demonstrated the importance of their work within our community and the great value of their role in the lives of Bermudian children and families.”
* To read the minister’s statement in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”.
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