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Initiative to monitor children’s first three years to be launched

Bright start: a new programme will help newborns to get the best start in life (Photograph supplied)

Infants are to be given the chance for a better start in life through a government programme that will map the gaps, disparities and inequalities in child services.

The First 1,000 Days initiative was unveiled in Friday’s Throne Speech and is designed to provide a solid foundation for a healthy life.

Delivering the Throne Speech during the opening of Parliament, Tom Oppenheim, the Deputy Governor, said: “Bermuda’s children present the most precious opportunity for the continued success of our homeland.

“A child’s earliest years, from gestation through to the age of two years, are the most formative and vulnerable periods of life. These years feature intense brain development, the formation of first relationships and the definition of the psyche.

“Experiences during this critical period can not only impact the health of the child but often set the trajectory for health and wellness for life.”

As a result, he said, the Government will introduce a First 1000 Days initiative, designed to provide a foundation for a healthy life.

He added: “This will be done by mapping all ‘touch points’, the needs and drivers for services, documenting the gaps, disparities and inequalities so that service integration is improved, leading to better outcomes and an improved quality of life.“

In another move to protect the island’s most vulnerable, agencies that support victims of abuse will be able to co-ordinate with one another more effectively through a new programme.

The Government will partner with SafeLives — a British charity that combats domestic abuse — to create “a multi-agency risk-assessment conference model in which all necessary agencies are engaged in a more co-ordinated plan of action to manage the conduct of the perpetrator and provide protection for the victim”.

Mr Oppenheim said: “The pandemic magnified the unfortunate fact that economic stresses lead to increased social dysfunction and, in some extreme cases, domestic abuse and family violence.

“Recent data suggests that there is under-reporting of incidences of intimate partner violence and therefore many people who would benefit from supportive services or intervention are not.

“Adult victims and children must be safeguarded in these situations.”

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Published November 07, 2022 at 7:43 am (Updated November 07, 2022 at 9:14 am)

Initiative to monitor children’s first three years to be launched

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