Overview of the Budget 2022/23 for the Ministry of Social Development and Seniors
For the Budget year 2022/23, the Ministry of Social Development and Seniors can announce that we have seen a slight increase in our budget from $24.2 million to $ 24.59 million.
When looking at the third sector, we recognize the need to assist social programs where there is a growing need, and therefore, require appropriate funds. These areas include:
➢ Age Concern – $25,000
➢ Women’s Resource Center – $75,000
➢ Center Against Abuse – $150,000
➢ Vision Bermuda – $15,000
➢ Tomorrows Voices – $13,000
➢ Nursing and residential homes – $1,945000
➢ Meals on Wheels – $50,000
➢ Salvation Army – $550,000
➢ Home – $20,000
Other key areas within our Ministry include:
➢ The Gender Affairs Council and the Parenting Campaign
➢ Children In Care Advisory Panel
➢ Litigation Guardians Framework and Training
Social protection systems must come to the fore.
There is an urgent need to enhance the gender-responsive social protection systems, care systems, and family-friendly policies.
Redefining the provision of supportive services, in the light of limited resources, will be critical in this upcoming year.
Several grants were provided that were in line with the premise to ensure that we spread the support to as many we could.
These grants are a social investment to help to alleviate some of the effects of poverty, homelessness, child abuse and neglect, elder care.
Grants are provided to rest homes, to the chronic underfunding of community mental health services in Bermuda that have been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, grants are provided for counselling services that support our children in-house and privately for child sex offenders and child victims of sex abuse. Grant allocations have also been put aside for transitional living and our National Seniors’ Strategy.
Community and service providers have witnessed the increasing demand for mental health services, affordable or otherwise. Bereavement, isolation, job losses, and fear are triggering mental health conditions or exacerbating existing ones.
Heightened usage of alcohol and drug use, insomnia, and anxiety have raised the risk of jeopardizing the health and well-being of many in our community.
The Ministry of Social Development and Seniors has set aside funds ($40,000) in this budget to address the lack of a framework for providing community mental health to both children and adults.
The Ministry will partner with the public and private sectors to progress the creation of a model that will provide community-based mental health support and intervention schemes.
Support to our families is also sorely needed. Recent presentations provided in our virtual ministry town hall meetings underscore the need for increased support to families, especially parents. At these meetings with the front-facing staff, it was made clear that support was needed to parents of children in care.
The staff at the Department of Child and Family Services have reported a significant increase in the neglect of children in their work.
Further, parents, through surveys, have reported the need for assistance in the ability to cope and parenting skills.
To this end, the Ministry will embark on a parenting campaign that aims to bring attention to the need to support parents in raising confident and successful children. Evidence tells us that love comes naturally, but successful parenting is learned.
A transformative public education and awareness campaign that highlights successful parenting outcomes will undoubtedly go a long way to impact the psycho-social fabric of our society.
The Ministry of Social Development and Seniors encourages a more inclusive society by ensuring persons with disabilities are acknowledged and respected to promote goodwill among all people in Bermuda.
Promoting disability-inclusive social systems such as the establishment of a disability register will go a long way to reduce inequity and inequality amongst some of our most valuable and vulnerable citizens. A disability register is a fundamental tool that can ensure increased accessibility for all.
The Litigation Guardian Programme has witnessed much success this year. A training program has been developed and now we have trained the 5 current litigation guardians, 12 potential litigation guardians, over 25 members of the DCFS staff, members of the family court panel, magistrates, and lawyers.
A successful training session was held in February 2022 and a new steering committee is being established to ensure the establishment of a scheme that will uphold the tenets of best practices for our children.
While our budget for 2022/23 may be limited, all departments within the Ministry of Social Development and Seniors have been actively working to ensure that we address our key areas of service while remaining aligned with austerity measures as laid out in this Government’s economic recovery plan.