12 January 2024
The Minister for Children and Education, Deputy Inna Gardiner, has today lodged a Commencement Act for the Children and Young People's (Jersey) Law 2022 for debate by the States Assembly. Members approved the principles of the law in February 2022. If the commencement act is agreed during the 27 February sitting, the law will come into force seven days later.
The law is the next major step in the crucial mission to ensure that all children and young people in Jersey will grow up safely, learn and achieve, live healthy lives, and be listened to.
It makes it a statutory requirement to ensure that everybody who works with children and young people works towards an overriding objective, to promote and support the wellbeing and safeguard the welfare of children and young people.
Once the law is enacted, people and organisations named in the law will have key roles to progress and demonstrate how they are achieving this. The people and organisations included are:
- The Chief Minister
- The Minister for Children and Education
- The Minister for Health and Social Services
- The Minister for Home Affairs
- The Minister for Housing and Communities
- Corporate parents
- Safeguarding partners
- Providers of services for children and young people
The law is accompanied by new statutory guidance, published today, and also by a programme of joint work that will drive the next stage of our joint efforts to support our children and young people and to respond to some of the systemic issues that the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry illustrated.
Alongside the proposition for enactment, the Minister is today publishing Safeguarding Arrangements for Children and Young People, which set out how safeguarding partners – including Government departments and the States of Jersey Police – will work together to safeguard the welfare of children and young people.
Under the law, the Minister for Children and Education must develop a four-year strategic plan, which is focused on improved children and young people's outcomes. The Minister will report back to the States Assembly on the success and progress of the plan.
The Government has developed and updated training to help duty-bearers prepare for the law.
The Minister for Children and Education, Deputy Inna Gardiner, said: "I am pleased to lodge this commencement act for debate. If the States Assembly agree, it will mean that, for the first time, we have set out clearly who is responsible for ensuring the wellbeing of all children, and how they should go about this.
“We already have individual laws which set out the commitment for specific areas – for example, in Education and in Children's Social Care. What we have never had enshrined in law is how different organisations will work together to protect children and young people, or the agreed standards and approach to make this happen. We are all aware that this work has, in part, been a response to the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, which showed us what happens to children and young people when they are not protected from harm and not listened to. I am confident that we have heard and gripped the key lessons from the inquiry, and are now able to look forward, and strengthen our work together.
“As a named Responsible Minister under the new law, I will play my part to listen and talk to children to understand how we can do better and reach our goal of delivering world-class support to all of Jersey's children and young people.
“I would also like to thank everyone who has contributed to this significant piece of work, which will enable us to move forward with a shared aim and a common language to have a direct positive impact on the lives of our children and young people."