04 December 2019
Islanders are being encouraged to have their say on changes to the law that aims to ensure children and young people are given the right support at the right time.
A 12-week consultation on reforms to the Children (Jersey) Law 2002 opens tomorrow and follows the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry Report that found that the Government of Jersey had failed to keep up with developments in children’s laws elsewhere, including the UK.
In December 2018, the Minister for Children and Housing, Senator Sam Mézec, announced a programme of legislative change. The Children’s Legislation Transformation Programme covers 39 different areas of policy development that have a shared ambition of improving outcomes for children.
The policy proposals aim to strengthen the Children (Jersey) Law 2002 in the following way:
- To expand the focus of the current law to provide an entitlement to children and families for early help and support based on their wellbeing needs
- To establish a legal requirement for strategic and operational integrated planning across services that will enable joint planning and clear priorities to improve children’s outcomes
- To ensure there is clarity around responsibility for the promotion of wellbeing and for safeguarding children
- The introduction of a new requirement for co-operation between providers of services for children
- To establish a named list of corporate parents with clear duties and responsibilities for children who are in care and for care leavers
- To clearly set out the elements of support that children in care, or leaving care, can expect from government
- To embed the four guiding principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in the law
Development of the proposals so far have taken into account: the findings of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry; local and national evidence on effective ways to protect and support children and young people; discussions with children’s practitioners; meetings with Government counterparts in Scotland to learn from good practice elsewhere; and views expressed by children and young people in respect of wellbeing.
Before work begins on drafting the amendments, the Children, Young People, Education and Skills department now wish to test key features of the underpinning policy through public consultation.
Senator Mézec said: “This 12-week consultation will help us to ensure that the law will provide a strong foundation to promote and support the wellbeing of all children in Jersey and underpin provision of the right help at the right time for children and families.
“Along with an online consultation questionnaire, we’re also holding drop-in sessions at Jersey Library, working with colleagues in the children’s workforce and meeting with children and young people.”
Two public drop-in sessions will be held at Jersey Library on Wednesday 29 January, from 12.30pm to 2.30pm, and Friday 31 January, from 9.30am to 11.30am.
Islanders are being encouraged to share their views by completing a short online questionnaire. Alternatively, feedback can be emailed to the Children’s Policy Team at Childrenslawreform@gov.je or written to:
Children Law Reform
Strategic Policy, Planning and Performance
19-21 Broad Street
The consultation will open tomorrow until 26 February 2020.