As of May the 17th, 6 childcare organizations on Bonaire will start an inclusive childcare pilot project for children that need additional care or guidance, in cooperation with the Centre for Youth & Family (Centrum voor Jeugd en Gezin, CJG). The childcare organizations will provide daycare and out-of-school care for children with special needs. The childcare organizations and parents will be supported in this by a multi-disciplinary care team.
Up until now, there was no dedicated childcare on Bonaire for children with additional care or educational needs. Furthermore, childcare organizations with questions regarding the care for children with special needs had no one to turn to for professional guidance, advice and support. This will now change.
Through the BES(t) 4 kids program, childcare organizations in the pilot are enabled to provide childcare for children with special needs in their own organization. Four childcare organizations will start in May, two will start in August. They will receive a startup compensation and a monthly contribution per child. The startup compensation is intended for the upgrade of the childcare facilities. The monthly contribution is allocated for additional required materials and supervision to support the development of children with special care or educational needs. Additionally, a multi-disciplinary care team, supervised by the CJG, provides support to the childcare organizations and parents. The care team consists of doctors and nurses of the child healthcare center, a special education expert, pedagogical coach, family coaches and counsellors, parenting support specialists and the childcare program coordinator. Where necessary, help from other specialists will be enlisted, such as from the Educational Needs Expertise Centre (EOZ), Mental Health Caribbean (MHC) or the pediatrician.
The pilot project is mostly aimed at children aged 1 to 12 who have autism. Research has shown that over 50 percent of the known Bonaire children who need additional care or guidance, have behavioral problems that are related to autism. Moreover, there are many children with a social-pedagogical problem, for example as a result of under stimulation or attachment issues.
During the 12-month pilot period, attention will be paid to how the regular childcare can be upgraded to childcare that can offer qualitative inclusive care, with guidance and support from the multi-disciplinary care team. Training and guiding the children’s parents will also be a point of focus. In addition, it will be assessed how the healthcare chain can respond quickly and with a sufficient range of care services to the demands of children that need additional care and guidance. A close cooperation between the multi-disciplinary team that offers primary care and the secondary and tertiary care offered by organizations such as EOZ, MHC and Youth Care (Jeugdzorg) is of mayor importance.