The law that protects Jersey’s children is being updated so that earlier help is given to children and families, with support services working closer together to understand, assess and meet the wellbeing needs of children.
The amendments will see the biggest changes to the Children (Jersey) Law 2002 made in almost two decades.
Following a public consultation, which included the views of children and young people aged between 10 and 25, the law will be amended with a stronger focus on early intervention based on wellbeing, as well as a greater emphasis on integrated service planning and corporate responsibilities, including corporate parenting.
The consultation ran from 5 December 2019 to 26 February 2020 to seek Islanders’ views on a number of proposals to update the law using the following themes:
- Embedding wellbeing in policy and practice
- Establishing corporate parenting in policy and practice
- People working together
- Children’s experience and perspective.
As part of the consultation, which included input from the Island’s children’s workforce and public drop-in sessions, children and young people shared their thoughts on the key ideas, which have been turned into word clouds to accompany the consultation’s summary.
Feedback, which broadly welcomed the proposals, and ongoing dialogue will be used to draft the amendments to the law, which are due to be presented to the States Assembly by the end of the year or in early 2021.
The Children’s Minister, Senator Sam Mézec, who will today sign a Ministerial Decision to begin the law drafting, said: "The Independent Jersey Care Inquiry found that the Government of Jersey had failed to keep step with many of the legislative developments made elsewhere, for example in the UK. This has meant that support in response to the needs of children and families has sometimes been inconsistent or has arrived too late.
"The aim of the proposed law amendment is to strengthen the regulatory framework in order to underpin this ‘right help right time’ ethos across the children’s workforce, including children’s social care. The proposals also recognise the wellbeing needs of children and young people in care and leaving care, with a clear framework of corporate parenting duties for children who require the Government to become their parent."
The proposed new legal provisions are part of the Children’s Legislation Transformation Programme, which brings together a wide range of areas of Government policy and legislation for development to improve outcomes for children and families.
The condultation summary report is available here.