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Looked-after children at heart of conference

12 October 2017

Children and young people who are in care in Jersey have been invited to share their experiences with politicians and professionals at an annual conference on Monday. 

The 2017 Jersey Safeguarding Partnership Board Children’s Conference is being held on Monday 16 October, at Hotel de France, and is being sponsored by the Bosdet Foundation and Andium Homes.

The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Children in Our Care’ and it will be attended by around 170 delegates, including politicians and professionals. It has been timed to follow the publication of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry’s report, and seeks to address some of its recommendations.

As well as giving a voice to young people in care, the conference will host a range of expert speakers from leading UK safeguarding organisations and the UK Government. Representatives from Jersey’s Education and Health and Social Services Departments, together with Family Nursing and Home Care and foster carers in Jersey, will also discuss the current provisions and vision for the future for children in care.

During the morning, delegates will hear from: the Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield OBE; managing director of Community and Social Services, Susan Devlin; and the deputy director of Social Care Policy, Ofsted, Lisa Pascoe.

In the afternoon, ‘Your Voice’ (a service run by Barnardo’s on behalf of the States of Jersey for looked-after children and young people aged between five and 25) will give a local perspective and thoughts from young people in care in Jersey. The aim of this afternoon session will be to hear the views, thoughts and feelings from those who currently are or have been in care, with a view to improving the wider service.

The Independent Chair of the Jersey Safeguarding Partnership Board, Glenys Johnston OBE, will open the event with the Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst.

Glenys Johnston said “Children in our care are vulnerable, given the adversities they may have experienced, through no fault of their own. All children are precious and there are occasions when some children need more support from us to reach their full potential. We have decided in this year’s annual conference to focus on this group of children and to dedicate time and attention to looking at their needs and listening to their views.”

Senator Gorst added “The report from the Jersey Care Inquiry criticised the lack of corporate working across departments and services. Children are best protected when professionals are clear about what is required of each of them, and when they know how they need to work together. Events like this will help us to work together and better protect the children in our care.

“Later this month I will be taking to the States Assembly a formal response to the Care Inquiry’s eight core recommendations. We have been investing in improved services to help keep our young people safe but there is much still to do to. Keeping children from harm is everyone’s responsibility, and I am determined that Jersey’s Government and its agencies will take the lead and continue our ongoing programme of investment in children’s services.”

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