07 Jun 2018

Education Minister Congratulates Child Development Programme 41st Anniversary

Minister of Education and Workforce Development, the Hon. Diallo Rabain, JP, MP attended a special ceremony to commemorate the 41st anniversary of the Child Development Programme and present certificates to children enrolled in the programmes.

Minister Rabain acknowledged the Child Development Programme staff for their sustained commitment and dedication to empower families in Bermuda by providing professional support and guidance to ensure all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Minister Rabain said: “Since 1977, the Child Development Programme has provided professional support and guidance to ensure all children have the opportunity to maximize their full potential through the two-year old Screening & Assessment, the Portage and Premature Infant Programme, Parent Education and Family Counselling Services. Over the last 41 years CDP have screened over 20,000 children and serviced over 10,000 families enrolled in the programme.

The Child Development Programme (CDP) began as a pilot project through the collaboration of the Ministries of Health, Social Services and Education. The aim was to prevent and minimize developmental problems and reduce the possible negative effects of environmental deprivation of young children.  The services began in one parish, Devonshire, and were expanded in 1982 to service the entire island.

As the CDP mission clearly defines their commitment to partnering with families of children from birth to four years and empowering them by providing quality services, support and guidance to maximize every child’s full potential.  This mission supports the findings of a report issued by the United Kingdom Department of Education and Wave Trust which states: “High quality assessment, early years’ intervention and support are vital to giving children the best start in life and to tackling the underlying causes of ill health and poor wellbeing throughout people’s lives. The most effective interventions are often those that are preventive instead of reactive – preventive interventions address risk factors likely to result in future problems for particular families, without waiting for those problems to emerge.”

One of the successful CDP programmes is the Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP) a home visiting model that prepares young children for school success by increasing language and literacy skills, enhancing social-emotional development and strengthening the parent-child relationship.  This service is offered to families on island who could benefit from the support. Home visitors provide twice weekly sessions in the home, bringing a new toy, book or activity each week for the length of the program, to increase parent-child communication and support parents in the role as their child’s first teacher.

I’d like to take this opportunity to recognize one of our long-standing home visitors, Ms. Elfreda Smith.  Ms. Smith was initially a parent in the program with her children in 1977.  After completion of the program, Ms. Smith went on to become the first parent to become a full time Parent Support Home Visitor here in Bermuda.  Ms. Smith is a dedicated member of the team who displays a high level of perseverance and wisdom.  She is skilled at building and sustaining relationships with the families that she serves, advocating for their needs and providing quality service.”

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