12 February 2020
The Children’s and Housing Minister has today issued a response to the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry Panel’s Two-Year Review report.
In its Two-Year Review, published in September 2019, the Panel acknowledged the work that has been carried out to improve Jersey’s care system, but it also noted that there is still progress to be made.
The Children’s Minister, Senator Sam Mézec, has today presented the Government’s response to the Two-Year Review as a report to the States Assembly. The Summary of Progress Report can be viewed here.
Several key milestones have been achieved in the two years since the Inquiry, including the establishment of a Children’s Commissioner to act as a champion for the rights of children and young people, an independent inspection of Children’s Services and recruiting a number of permanent social worker staff through the "Let’s Be Honest" campaign.
The Government Plan, which was approved by the States Assembly last year, makes ‘putting children first’ a key priority. It states that this year the Government will continue to deliver the Children’s Plan, in particular driving forward the operational improvement programme for Children’s Services, as well as bringing the legislative framework for children up to date and laying the foundations for long-term reforms to education.
Children’s and Housing Minister, Senator Sam Mézec, said: "I would like to thank the Independent Care Inquiry Panel for the publication of the Two-Year Report. The Panel’s report represents an independent assessment of progress and a welcome assessment of our ongoing endeavour to realise our vision for children in Jersey that sees all children having an equal opportunity to be safe, flourish and fulfil their potential.
"The Final Report in 2017 identified individual and systemic failings, gave a voice to all those who suffered abuse and revealed the true extent to which Jersey institutions failed our children and their families. In accepting all of the Independent Care Inquiry report findings, the Government also accepted the Panel’s view that progress should be assessed by them two years after the publication of their report.
"The review represents an assessment to our common endeavours to put children first. As the Minister for Children, I will continue to work tirelessly with other Ministers, elected members and officers to continue to improve in the areas where the panel remain concerned.
"In July last year, the Government Plan, which has a top priority of ‘Putting Children First’ was lodged with the Assembly. The proposed plan and the investment proposals behind it represent the future Government commitment to continue to learn the lessons from the past and maintain its energy toward improving outcomes for children."
Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, said: "It is clear from the Two-Year Review that we have made a good start in tackling the issues within Jersey’s Care system. However, we must not be complacent, as it is also clear that we have a long way to go to ensure that Jersey becomes the very best place for children and young people to grow up.
"The Government Plans sets out a sustainable approach to build on the good progress we have already made as we endeavour to make sure that all children, especially those who are cared for by the Government, feel loved and valued."