14 January 2020
Major plans are underway to implement an Intensive Fostering Service that will provide family-based placements in Jersey as a direct alternative to placing children in residential children’s homes, and some children and young people off-Island.
A recruitment campaign is due to begin next month for the new Intensive Fostering Service, which was approved in the Government Plan.
The Children’s Minister, Senator Sam Mézec, said that introducing this new service will mean children with complex needs are cared for in a family-based placement, will stay in Jersey and the spend on off-Island placements will be reduced.
This is part of the development plans by the Children, Young People, Education and Skills department to enhance the fostering service in a way that enables children who need intensive, specialist and close-proximity care to live in a family environment.
Foster carers will receive £40,000 per annum as they will be unable to undertake any other employment for the duration of this role. The Intensive Fostering Service will reduce the need to place some children in residential care in Jersey and off-Island, which can cost more than £200,000 per year for each child, and therefore significantly reduces the spend in this area.
Senator Mézec said: “This new initiative is a significant milestone for the Children’s Service in Jersey. Our current foster carers do a fantastic job providing children and young people a loving and stable home environment.
“It has been recognised that the current provision does not offer placements to the full range of children’s needs such as those who may have the most complex or challenging needs or who are teenagers or siblings. This has meant that children from Jersey have had to leave the Island to access an appropriate placement which can meet their needs and support their care plans.
“Recruiting intensive foster carers to the Children’s Service will mean children with complex and challenging needs stay in Jersey and the spend on off-Island placements is reduced.
“And the establishment of this service builds on evidence of the importance and effectiveness of family placements in supporting positive outcomes for looked-after children and I congratulate all those involved who have helped to develop this significant service for Jersey.”
The Intensive Fostering Service is for:
- children aged 0 to 18 years
- children with a range of complex or other specialist needs
- children who have experienced abuse or other trauma
- children with a significant health issue, disability, long-term condition or life-limiting illness
- children above and their brother/sister.
Work is continuing with Government departments to finalise the details of the Intensive Fostering Service ahead of the official launch next month.