06 July 2021
The Minister for Children and Education, Deputy Scott Wickenden, has reflected on Jersey's second Children's Day, and thanked the Citizens' Panel and staff at the department for Children, Young People, Education and Skills (CYPES) for their ongoing work to improve the lives of children and young people.
The creation of Jersey Children's Day was a recommendation made by the Citizens' Panel, which was set up after the Jersey Independent Care Inquiry (JICI), and the 3 July was chosen to coincide with the publication of the JICI report.
Deputy Wickenden said: "The Jersey Care Inquiry investigated long term, serious short-comings in how the Island protected children and young people, especially those who were vulnerable.
"Children's Day is an opportunity for us as an Island to reflect on what children and young people experienced in the past, celebrate what today's young children and young people can achieve, and plan for the next generation.
"Any actions now can't undo the wrongdoing of the past. However, I want to thank the thousands of staff who work every day ensuring that the future will be better for children and young people. Our teachers, nursery and college staff, social care staff, youth workers and social care staff deserve our thanks."
"We have already come a long way since the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry. There are areas where progress is ongoing, but there is also significant work that has been done to improve outcomes and services for children, young people and their families."
The Government has continued to make progress against the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry Recommendations, which includes:
- Creating the Commissioner for Children and Young People (Jersey) Law 2019
- Appointing and funding a Commissioner for Children and Young People
- Creation of a Minister for Children and Education
- Creation of the Intensive Fostering Service
- Reducing the number of children placed off Island from 24 to 16
- More than doubled the number of Care Leavers – now supporting 67
- Developing the Children and Young People's Plan
- Drafting the Mental Health Strategy to improve mental health outcomes
- Publishing the Jersey Children's Social Care Services Our Plan 2021 to 2023
- Developing and rolling out a new neglect strategy to enable social work staff to engage constructively with parents
- Progress made attracting and retaining more permanent staff at all levels
- 69% of all the social work qualified staff (including leadership and management roles, Senior Practitioners and Independent Reviewing Officers) are permanent staff
- Four out of the five most senior leadership posts in children's social care are permanent and have been filled for more than two years
- Average caseloads for social workers are 12.5 children, well below the English average
- Schools, nurseries and early years settings have continued to play a vital role in supporting children and young people, especially given the challenges of the previous year
- Launched the Children and Families Hub to allow access to early help and support
- Teachers have adapted to online or blended learning and are providing additional teaching for those whose learning has been disadvantaged by the pandemic.
- Launched the Learning At Home during Covid to support children, young people and their families
- In the last 4 weeks we have seen a marked reduction in the incidences of children missing from care, and confidence that those that are going missing have plans in place to keep them safe from exploitation
- Hiring more mental health practitioners to support children and young people referred to the child and adolescent mental health service and redesigning the service to focus more on early help and prevention in the community
- The average exclusion instance per pupil has dropped from 3.1 in 2018-2019 to 2.4 in 2019-2020
- The average days each pupil is excluded as dropped from 4.9 in 2018-2019 to 3.5 in 2019-2020
- Further investment of £1.3 million proposed to help students disadvantaged by pandemic
- Operation Optical identified and worked with 15-20 young people who were involved in antisocial behaviour and crime and the department for Children, Young People, Education and Skills worked with States of Jersey Police and the Probation Service to develop new ways of engaging with these young people and diverting them from crime.
- Continuing to work on the Citizens Panel Legacy Project