Psycho-Educational Services

The Psycho-Educational Program was developed to focus on children who could not be effectively treated in Bermuda or those who had exhausted all available therapeutic services. As our ability to diagnose various psychological, behavioral, and educational problems has improved, more children are being identified with various psychological, social/emotional and psychiatric conditions that we are currently unable to fully treat locally. The Psycho-Educational Program affords us the opportunity to have external input with regard to therapeutic intervention and aftercare services. Children are sent to various facilities in the United States and Canada. It has been identified that it is not cost effective to provide all of the services in Bermuda, because of the insufficient client base in each area. 

The Psycho-Ed Program provides children and youth with protection, care, and nurturance by licensed therapeutic overseas facilities. Psycho-Ed programmes provide a safe, supportive and therapeutic environment for a child, while working towards either family reunification or an alternative permanency option. 

The Psycho-Educational Committee is comprised of representatives from the following: 

  • Ministry of Health (not currently active) 

  • Child and Adolescent Services 

  • Ministry of Education 

  • The Department of Child and Family Services 

When a child is placed in out-of-home care, the Department will work with the child, their family, and several professionals from the vetted Overseas Therapeutic Facility with whom the children and their parents are receiving services from.

Psycho-Educational Program Fact Sheet

Policy Objective:

The Government is committed to enhancing the lives of children who have been determined to require services that have either been exhausted or not available in Bermuda.  These services are primarily therapeutic but because of the age of the children include educational needs as well.

Operational Framework:

  • The program involves three primary Ministries, they include The Ministry of Education, The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Legal Affairs.

  • The related sections within the Ministries are, Student Services within the Ministry of Education, Child and Adolescent Services, Under the Bermuda Hospitals Board, The Chief Medical Officer, from the Ministry of Health, and the Department of Child and Family Services, within the Ministry of Legal Affairs.

  • The Department of Child and Family Services provides operational oversight of the program, and currently all funding for both therapeutic and educational services is provided through the budget of DCFS.

Psycho-Educational Committee:

  • The remit of the Psyco-Ed Committee is to review all applications for overseas services, ensuring all local options have been exhausted or what is required is not available.

  • The committee is comprised of the Child Psychiatrist from CAS, two Senior staff of Student Services within the Ministry of Education, and two senior staff within the Department of Child and Family Services.  The committee is supported by the Coordinator of Psycho-Ed.

Procedures for an Overseas Therapeutic Placement:

  • REFERAL PROCESS-  There are 2 Referral Sources for Psycho-ED: DCFS Internal Referral and The High Risk Intervention Committee (THRIC)

  • DCFS Internal Referral Process -  Presentation of referral during the Department’s Coordinator’s meeting

  • The Case Manager completes Internal Referral

  • Application includes Structured Decision Making Report,  Passport and Immunization Validity

  • The High Risk Intervention Committee Referral

  • Outside Agencies

  • Court Services

  • Child and Adolescent Services (CAS)

  • Ministry of Education  (MOED)

  • The Department of Health

Procedures for Placement and ongoing Case Over sight:

  • Using Assessments for Service Planning – The Psycho-Ed Coordinator will complete the required SDM packages every six (6) months in order to work effectively on the case.  The relevant tools should support both case direction and decision.  Every child in Psycho-Ed care shall have his/her own Service Plan.

  • Monthly Treatment Team Review – The Psycho-Ed Coordinator will conduct monthly clinical reviews with the child’s overseas clinical team.  These assessments are outlined in a way to identify action steps to be taken to maintain the stability of the child.  This is also an opportunity for Psycho-Ed Coordinator to speak to the child and agency representative about whatever concerns they may have that need to be addressed.

  • Family Contact – It is the Psycho-Ed Coordinator’s responsibility to assess the suitability of family members to ascertain what role they can play for beneficial visits with the child or telephone contact.  If a child is placed without a reunification plan, the Psycho-Ed Coordinator should be looking to family members as alternatives to a foster placement or referral to Residential Treatment Services.

  • Education – The child’s educational needs are an important part of the case planning.  Collaboration with The Department of Education for all matters related to the child’s educational plan and copies of all the child’s report cards such that the overseas facility is able to develop individualized academic plan for the child in a timely manner.

  • Clinical – The child’s psychiatric, psychological, and emotional needs must be constantly evaluated to promote optimum care.  Monthly clinical case conferences are held to discuss the child’s needs as identified on the Child Portion of the Family Strengths & Needs Assessment.  Decisions are made that revolve around medication, in-patient observation, out-patient treatment and ongoing intervention.

  • Health – Every child in an overseas therapeutic placement must receive an Annual Medical Examination by his/her physician prior to departure.  As Psycho-Ed children are on Care Orders, medical procedures that require parent/guardian signatures must be signed by the Director

  • Dental Care – dental Referrals must be submitted to the Psycho-Ed Coordinator, when specialized dental care is required (extractions, orthodontic treatment, etc.).  Approval is granted by the Director.

  • Social & Recreational - Efforts should be made to confirm the credibility of the programs.  Information should be obtained from the various entities that would lead to the team having details about the child’s success and progress within the extra-curricular activities.

  • Overseas Travel – In order to leave the jurisdiction of Bermuda, a child on a care order must be granted permission by the Family Court.  It is the responsibility of the Social Worker or Psycho-Ed Coordinator to obtain a section 84. *It is important to note that biological parents must be informed of the plans, the biological parent has a right to object to their child leaving the jurisdiction – decisions pertaining to travel could result in a Court Hearing.

  • Case Reviews – The Psycho- Ed Coordinator is the lead in the Case Review process and will meet with the Sr. Social Worker quarterly to complete case reviews with the purpose of reviewing SDM Tools and Decision-Making on each Psycho-Ed child’s case.  Case Review discussion points are documented on the agency accepted Case Review Forms and copies are placed on the child’s file.  These forms fulfill the best practice standard for documenting case decision

Transition / Reunification Plan:

  • When the dynamics of the case are changing and the SDM Tools indicate a move to transition and reunification, it is the Psycho-Ed Coordinator’s responsibility to create a Service Plan that would identify the best steps for a smooth transition and a return home for the child.  The Psycho-Ed Coordinator will need to meet with the all relevant parties.

  • It will be important to assess the parents’ willingness to remain involved as an external support to the child.  Transition plans should be created in the form of a contract and should contain a period of Aftercare.  The Coordinator will decide whether or not it is appropriate to implement a Supervision Order via Family Court and a case transfer to the Family Preservation Team.  This could aide in successful reunification.

Program Vetting​​​​:

  • All programs are vetted by the Director or a senior member of staff.  Programs must be licenced by their respective authority.

  • The must meet accreditation standards of an accrediting body.

  • They must be approved by the Department of Homeland Security to issue I-20 certificates to children attending the program from overseas countries.

  • After initial vetting programs are recertified as placement option annually or if there is a child needing the placement.