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Action plan to help adults with intellectual disabilities

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Long term vision: Tinee Furbert Minister of Social Development and Seniors (File Photograph)

The Government has unveiled a five-year plan to fill “substantial gaps“ in the care of adults with intellectual disabilities.

At a press conference yesterday, Tinee Furbert, the Minister of Social Development and Seniors, said the National Plan For Adults with Intellectual Disabilities outlined strategies in which various groups will come together to develop “coordinated actions”.

In a foreword to a booklet outlining the approach, she wrote: “While Bermuda has a foundation of key services and supports for adults with intellectual disabilities, there remain substantial gaps and areas for improvement.

“The plan provides key actions for areas to address service quality, training and education, policy and law, financing, and advocacy, and is guided by the principles of rights, independence, choice and inclusion.

“This plan is meant to direct and co-ordinate our work. It is also a tool for accountability.”

Ms Furbert said there were about 400 adults in Bermuda affected by intellectual disabilities, along with about 100 children.

At the press conference, she added that, after almost a year of consultation that put the affected adults and their families first, the plan was now ready to be carried out.

The ministry is establishing a cross-ministry steering committee headed by Ms Furbert and Morrisa Rogers of the Mid Atlantic Wellness Institute.

Ms Furbert said: “The steering committee will oversee annual action plans to ensure accountable and coordinated activities by working groups that will keep people with intellectual disabilities and their families at the centre.

“This includes having representation and input from adults with intellectual disabilities and their families at all levels of the implementation and governance process.”

Ms Furbert said that the plan will “better align” Bermuda with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

She explained: “It ensures the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and fundamental freedoms, and promotes respect for the inherent dignity of persons with disabilities.”

The plan will focus on adults rather than children because, according to the minister, “Bermuda has had a better evolving service and support system for children with intellectual disabilities than that offered for adults”.

She added: “However, there is an element in the national plan that includes children aged 14 years and older to ensure transitions to adult services are planned, available and beneficial.”

Ms Furbert was flanked by representatives from a number of health organisations, support groups, and charities, including MWI, Ageing and Disability Services, WindReach, and the Dame Marjorie Bean Hope Academy.

The minister said: “It was only with the collaborative professional and technical support of the planning committee that the plan was developed, and so I want to thank members of the planning committee for their dedication and commitment.”

A copy of the plan can be found on the Government’s website here.

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Published March 24, 2023 at 7:27 am (Updated March 24, 2023 at 7:27 am)

Action plan to help adults with intellectual disabilities

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