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Adverse childhood experiences conference

Nadine Lapsley-Dyer (File photograh by Blaire Simmons)

A conference will be held next month to tackle the impact of childnood traumatic experiences.

The Inter Agency Committee for Children and Families has arranged the event in partnership with the Family Centre.

The IAC has identified unhealthy relationships due to multi-generational trauma which has remained untackled as Bermuda’s number one social threat.

Nadine Lapsley-Dyer, vice-chairwoman of the IAC, said: “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 practised 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 added: “The IAC and its stakeholders are working to identify and intervene in the areas of health and education, helping to strengthen relevant organisations 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 arranged conventions of social workers and professionals from the private and public sectors in 2009 and 2010 to discuss Bermuda’s changing social service needs.

Delegates found that unresolved, longstanding family and social problems were the cause of persistent and worsening symptoms such as gang violence and academic underachievement.

The IAC presented its findings and recommendations to the Bermuda Government.

The IAC has focused on multi-generational trauma through training sessions since then.

Next month’s 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”.

The conference will be held on October 11 and 12.

To register, e-mail info@tfc.bm or call 232-1116 and ask for Thalia Lightbourne or Stephanie Guthman.

A pre-conference workshop, featuring the documentary film Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope, has also been organised.

The workshop will he held next Thursday at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, from 2pm to 4pm.

E-mail iac@prevention.bm by next Wednesday to register.