21 January 2022
The independent chair of the Safeguarding Partnership Board (SPB) has today (Friday 21 January) launched Jersey's first Multi-Agency Child Neglect Strategy.
The Strategy has been launched against the backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic when additional stressors on families, reduced social contacts and pressures on household budgets has added to the risk of children being neglected.
Neglect is one of the most common forms of abuse. It can take a wide range of forms, tends to be cumulative and can have a significant impact on the physical, emotional, educational and social wellbeing of children and young people.
Neglect is the most common reason for child protection plans in Jersey and the strategy will guide the Island's professionals in seeing, monitoring, and assessing child neglect in Jersey.
This will better support the sharing of information across agencies to establish greater insight into the lives and needs of Jersey's children.
The strategy highlights that although there are pockets of excellent practice in Jersey, previous inspections and reviews have highlighted that more needs to be done to make sure the Island's children are seen, listened to and helped at an early enough stage to prevent them being neglected.
The strategy emphasises the multi-agency responsibility to identify the early signs of neglect so that support can be provided to improve the life chances of all children.
A practical toolkit is being distributed to all relevant frontline staff to help them quickly make professional judgements about whether parenting is neglectful. This is done by looking at the child's various needs (physical, safety, emotional, developmental) and then assessing the quality of each one's fulfilment and how to best target resource where there is concern.
Frontline staff, working with children and young people, are being the offered specialist trainig to help them follow the strategy.
Islanders will also be reminded that they can play their part too by being our eyes and ears if they notice early signs that a family is not coping, such as if a child looks frequently sad, has poor hygiene, is maybe hungry or is inappropriately dressed for the weather. Anyone with concerns should contact the Children and Families Hub who will ensure that this child is seen, heard and helped.
It is everyone's responsibility to help keep children safe from neglect.
The Children and Families Hub responds to any safeguarding concerns you may have for a child or young person, and provides information, advice and support for families, children and young people. It can be contacted on (01534) 519000 or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
A communications campaign will be launched to support this work and multi-agency working with organisations will be stepped up so all Islanders know the first step they can take to support a child who may be neglected.
Chief Minister, Senator John le Fondré said "I would like to thank Sarah Elliott and the committed professionals from across the Island who have shared their understanding of the complexity of neglect and helped us get to this point.
"This strategy, supported by robust oversight and effective supervision, will help professionals recognise neglect early and effectively respond to, help, and protect Jersey's children and young people."
The Children's Commissioner for Jersey, Deborah McMillan said "I welcome the launch of this neglect strategy, especially at a time when the pandemic has worsened the situations that many vulnerable families find themselves in.
"It is really important to have in place this kind of framework to help professionals get the best results in their efforts to support families who are struggling."
The Chair of the Safeguarding Partnership Board, Sarah Elliott said "All families come under pressure from time to time. Although many parents are able to provide loving care for their child during difficult periods, increased or continued stress can affect how a parent can look after their child.
"This new strategy will help ensure front line staff can spot the early signs of neglect so that early support can be provided before a child suffers serious or long-lasting harm"