22 April 2020
More than 130 calls were made to the new Children and Families Hub during its first three weeks of opening, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Children and Families Hub provides information, advice and support for families and young people and responds to any safeguarding concerns for a child or young person.
More than half of the calls were from professionals, such as teachers, GPs, health visitors and family support workers and around 50 calls were received from members of the public.
The latest figures follow the launch of the Government’s new See It, Hear It, Report It campaign by the Departments for Children, Young People Education and Skills and States of Jersey Police, to encourage Islanders to work together to keep everyone at heightened risk safe and in sight.
The campaign highlights that safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and encourages Islanders to be our “eyes and ears” in the community and report any safeguarding concerns.
Calls to the Children and Families Hub, so far, relate to families who are experiencing difficulties or are in stressful situations, with some looking for advice on benefits, housing, and health related matters and for more general support.
A member of the public working in the community recently contacted the Hub after they had witnessed a domestic incident in a home. They reported the incident to the police and Children and Families Hub and the matter was dealt with straight away.
Children’s Minister, Senator Sam Mézec, said: “We are grateful to the community for acting as our eyes and ears. In this incident, this member of the public has very helpfully reported a domestic violence incident involving a child, which may have otherwise gone un-noticed. We can now offer the family support. It is vital that members of the public continue to be our eyes and ears in the community to help keep vulnerable children and families safe.”
“The Children and Families Hub is not just for safeguarding. Its purpose is also to offer a place to go for wider support, advice and guidance, as well as providing a route through, seamlessly, to the normal safeguarding process. I am pleased to see that the Hub is being used to safeguard and support children and families during these difficult times.”
Figures from 25 March to 15 April reveal that there were 49 calls for support for a family, child or young person, 23 calls for safeguarding, 35 for advice and guidance.
Further calls to the Hub have been about managing shared care of children between homes, queries about education or school places, or where to get counselling support for young people.
There were 18 enquiries relating to COVID-19, which were redirected to the central enquiry line. And the COVID 19 helpline has been referring families to the Hub so that they receive the best support and advice.
Director of Safeguarding and Care, Mark Owers, said: “We also receive many calls to the Hub about family difficulties, which may or may not be to do with the current circumstances. These can be anything from domestic abuse, alcohol abuse, depression or anxiety, children’s behaviour in the home or relationship issues.
“When all of these difficulties come together, a family needs more support than can be provided by single agencies acting alone and this is the great strength of the Hub, where a lead worker can be found to co-ordinate a wide range of support for a family.
“Families are also calling in distress, where there are a lot of things going on for them at the same time. Sometimes this just needs talking through and the provision of support and advice over the phone, for example managing relationship difficulties or managing routines in the home to help a child’s behaviour, and sometimes it needs a more in-depth approach. Parents can then receive a call from a specialist worker or from a family support worker, who will start the multi-agency approach to help the family.”
Call the Children and Families Hub for support or safeguarding concerns on 519000