16 January 2015
A new task force is to be established as part of the government’s commitment to supporting Island families during the early years of children’s lives.
The task force, which will be supported by a newly appointed lead co-ordinator, will look at the services needed to support children during the critical early years, identify any gaps and find solutions for those gaps.
1001 Critical Days
The Chief Minister Ian Gorst announced the new task force at a conference, being held in the Island today (Friday 16 January 2015) by charity Brighter Futures to discuss the launch in Jersey of the national initiative 1001 Critical Days, to which he also expressed his commitment.
“During last year’s election I, and a number of other Ministers, made a commitment to support the 1001 Critical Days agenda. The ways in which we care for and treat children during this period shapes their lives, and ultimately our whole community. Significant strides have been made in the last few years, such as the recently established Sustained Home Visiting Scheme, which provides ongoing support to vulnerable mothers who are pregnant, or who have very young children. I recognise however that more may be required.”
The task force will bring together expertise and knowledge from across the States and the voluntary and community sector, to make sure that our services, and the solutions they deliver, are suitable for Jersey families.
Investment and reform
It will also look at how we fund new services and reform existing services, in order that investment reaches vulnerable families and supports Jersey’s youngest residents.
“It makes financial and social sense to focus our attention on the very early years of a child’s life, as it is proven that well-designed early years services, can both prevent harm and save money in the longer term,” said Senator Gorst.
The Brighter Futures conference attended by Senator Gorst was also addressed by Andrea Leadsom, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on 1001 Critical Days and the UK’s Economic Secretary to the Treasury.
The UK’s 1001 Critical Days manifesto is a cross-party initiative which recognises that the early years of life are a crucial period and key to brain development. It highlights the importance of acting early where children are not getting the start in life that they need.