09 January 2018
The first Children’s Commissioner for Jersey has begun her new role by promising children and young people that she will listen and speak up for them and ensure that their voices are heard.
On her first day in office, on Monday 8 January, Deborah McMillan, an inspirational leader with a 30-year career championing the rights and future of children and young people, gave her first promise.
Mrs McMillan, a former police officer, teacher and director of children’s services in the UK, said: “I will listen to children and young people to find out what is important to them. I will speak up for children and young people to ensure their voice is heard.”
The new post of Children’s Commissioner for Jersey was created in response to the recommendation of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry.
Her appointment followed a robust recruitment process, which also involved being interviewed by a panel of young people, the first time such a panel was used for a high profile and significant appointment in Jersey.
This Young People’s interview panel was made up of eight young people, between the ages of 13 and 18 years old, with a mix of life experiences. They were recruited by the Youth Service and supported by youth workers.
This week Mrs McMillan will meet the Young People’s panel again at Jersey Youth Service.
In her new role, Mrs McMillan wants to create widespread positive change for children and young people in Jersey. A first step will be to invite the Young People’s interview panel to act as the Youth Advisory Board for the Office of the Children’s Commissioner.
“I want the Youth Advisory Board to help me set the priorities for the Office of the Children’s Commissioner and to hold me to account on the things I promise to do with their input,” she said.
“This role is absolutely about children. I want to undertake a full scale consultation involving children and young people to find out what they think the priorities of the Office of the Children’s Commissioner for Jersey should be and I want children and young people to be at the heart of that consultation and share their views. For me to use my influence effectively I must be sure that I am reflecting the views of children and young people.”
And as the first Children’s Commissioner for Jersey, Mrs McMillan wants to work on the front line meeting children and young people, regularly visiting schools, children’s homes and speaking to children and staff.
“My role is to act as the champion and advocate of children and young people, representing their views, in order to make a real difference on something that really matters to us all - the futures of all children, young people and their families within our community,” added Mrs McMillan.