During 2011 and 2012 an independent review of services for children and young people with complex and additional needs was carried out by Action for Children, the UK-based charity.
What are “complex and additional needs”?
Children and young people with complex and additional needs could include those with:
Why was the review commissioned?
The review was commissioned by the Health and Social Service Department (HSS) on behalf of the Children’s Policy Group, which includes the Ministers of Health & Social Services; Education, Sports & Culture; and Home Affairs.
The aim was to review existing services for children and young people in Jersey and to set out recommendations for improvement.
The review was commissioned as part of the Children’s Policy Group's on-going commitment to improving the lives of all children and young people in Jersey.
What did the review process involve?
During 2012 experts from Action for Children talked to a number of key people and also visited agencies that support children and young people. This included:
parents and carers of children and young people with special needs
staff from the Health and Social Services Department who run and manage services. This included observing staff as they went about their day-to-day work
staff and representatives from other organisations, including Jersey- based charities, that provide services and support
staff from other States departments
Action for Children also looked at all relevant documents including the Health and Social Service Department’s policies and procedures.
What did they find?
Action for Children set out a number of key findings across all service areas, all of which are included in the attached report. They also made eight key strategic recommendations related to those findings. These recommendations include:
1. all agencies (States departments, Jersey-based charities and voluntary sector organisations, plus private companies that provide services and support for children and young people with complex and additional needs) to work together to develop three-year and five-year service plans
2. developing early intervention and prevention services for children and families who are not yet in crisis, but are at risk of crisis (this could include services such as short breaks for families, better information about the services that are available and better co-ordinated care)
3. all agencies to agree joint working practices and shared objectives
4. changing the existing Complex Needs and Disability Team, which is part of the Health and Social Services Department, so that the team:
can work with the Jersey Common Assessment Framework (this is an agreed way for all agencies to identify which children, young people and families might need support)
can better support children and young people by personalising the care they receive so it meets their individual needs
includes staff who are responsible for residential services and is better able to develop new services in addition to existing respite care services
includes a senior officer who has responsibility for helping support young people who are ready to transfer from children's services to adults' services
5. the States of Jersey clearly stating that all the services it funds, including those provided by other agencies, must by personalised around the needs of individual children and young people (this includes developing a clear commissioning strategy)
6. a review of legislation including legislation relating to disability discrimination; carers' rights and children in need
7. ensuring the States provides clear direction about the need for agencies to provide early intervention support and services
8. setting up a small team of key people from across different agencies to manage delivery of improvements.
The Health and Social Services Department has considered all of Action for Children’s recommendations and findings and has agreed what actions should be taken. These actions are set out in the Children’s Policy Group Service Improvement Plan. They include:
setting up a multi-agency team to help deliver improvements and develop service plans
better gathering the views of children, young people and their families and looking at the possibility of setting up an advocacy service
focusing on developing a better range of early intervention services. This includes reviewing the number of staff and their roles to see if right numbers of people with the right skills are in place to develop and run these services
setting up systems to gather information so that demand for services can be properly assessed
ensuring children under five years old with complex needs who need support from the Child Development Centre or Mental Health Services are given a key worker
better supporting people as they move from children’s services to adults' services
developing the range and numbers of short breaks (for example, more holiday clubs)
The Health and Social Services Department will be undertaking other work as well, much of which is already underway. The full details are set out in Children’s Policy Group’s Service Improvement Plan, Quarter 4 2012.
How does the Action for Children review link to the 2012 Scrutiny Panel review?
In 2011, shortly after the Action for Children review had been commissioned, the Health, Social Security and Housing Scrutiny Panel commissioned their own review into respite service for children and young people. The Scrutiny review, which was published in April 2012, was done separately from the Action for Children review in order to help ensure both reviews were independent in their approach.