Off-island care for children (FOI)
Off-island care for children (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 20 June 2023.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
At a recent session of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, a Government of Jersey representative made the remarks in the attached file in respect of a question raised by the Committee in regards to the arrangements Jersey has for placing children in care settings outside of Jersey.
Regarding the statement “In rare cases, the Minister for Children may seek to have a child placed off island with the approval of the court” please confirm: The total number of children placed off island
i) in 2020;
ii) in 2021;
iii) in 2022;
iv) to date in 2023.
Provide total numbers, not number of new placements. The 2023 figure must include the total number of children placed off Island to date.
Please confirm the total expenditure on off island placements, per year:
i) in 2020
ii) in 2021
iii) in 2022
iv) to date in 2023
Regarding the statement “Regular care planning meetings take place where contact arrangements are discussed and agreed”, please confirm, for children placed off island, the total number of care planning meetings held:
i) in 2020;
ii) in 2021;
iii) in 2022;
iv) to date in 2023.
Regarding the statement “Levels of contact are set, including when a child may be visited, the length of the contact visit, and whether the contact is supervised, taking into account any requirements set out in court orders”, please confirm how many children placed off island do not currently have contact arrangements in place?
Regarding the statement “The child will also be able to access independent advocacy services. And have their advocate present in planning meetings”, please confirm:
i) Of the meetings that took place in 2020, how many were conducted with an independent advocate present;
ii) Of the meetings that took place in 2021, how many were conducted with an independent advocate present;
iii) Of the meetings that took place in 2022, how many were conducted with an independent advocate present;
iv) Of the meetings that have taken place to date in 2023, how many were conducted with an independent advocate present.
Regarding the statement “Financial and practical assistance is provided for family members. This includes booking flights and accommodation, taxis, and expenses for food and activities”, please confirm the total expenditure on practical assistance provided for family members, per year. Do not include in the calculations any departmental time or expenses incurred by the department in visits. Break down the costs by flights, accommodation, taxis, food and activities.
i) Financial assistance expenses in 2020
ii) Financial assistance expenses in 2021
iii) Financial assistance expenses in 2022
iv) Financial assistance expenses to date in 2023
Further, regarding the statement “A dialogue is ongoing with the UK department for education to strengthen the reciprocity of these current arrangements.” Please confirm what specific reciprocity is expected to be achieved?
Please find below the total number of children placed off island with the approval of the court per year as requested:
Please note the numbers provided count the total number of children who have been off-island each calendar year – some children are in long term placements off-island and will be counted across each of the years. A total of 27 individuals have been in off-island placements since January 2020. Some of these children are no longer below the age of 18.
Below are the placement costs for off island placements per year:
* (01/01/2023 – 31/05/2023)
Below is a breakdown of the total number of care planning meetings held:
Contact arrangements between all children in care and their family members can change with each review of their care plan. Whilst it may be the case that at times, contact is temporarily stopped on a very short-term basis for safeguarding reasons, this decision would be taken with the child’s safety and best interests as paramount. Decisions to halt contact between children and their family members long-term are unusual and would require an Order of the Court. Sometimes children and young people express clear views not to have contact with certain family members.
The Department have determined that to disclose the exact number would likely breach the privacy of individuals and therefore, Article 25 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) 2011 Law has been applied.
Whilst information is held regarding how many meetings were conducted with an independent advocate present in planning meetings, to search individual case notes of every child / young person currently looked after and to produce the data would take in excess of 12.5 working hours therefore Article 16 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 has been applied.
To clarify, the Minister does provide support for all parents travelling to see their children in the UK in line with the agreed contact arrangements set out in their care plan. This will include flights to the UK, food allowance and hotel costs where applicable.
Practical assistance costs which are provided for family members is not held in a recordable format; therefore Article 3 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 applies.
The Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 gives a right to request information that is held in recorded form, unless exempt. This aspect of the request poses a question rather than seeking information held in recorded form.
Article 3 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 applies.
Article 3 - Meaning of “information held by a public authority”
For the purposes of this Law, information is held by a public authority if –
(a) it is held by the authority, otherwise than on behalf of another person; or
(b) it is held by another person on behalf of the authority.
Article 16 - A scheduled public authority may refuse to supply information if cost excessive
(1) A scheduled public authority that has been requested to supply information may refuse to supply the information if it estimates that the cost of doing so would exceed an amount determined in the manner prescribed by Regulations.
Article 25 - Personal information
(1) Information is absolutely exempt information if it constitutes personal data of which the applicant is the data subject as defined in the Data Protection (Jersey) Law 2018.
(2) Information is absolutely exempt information if –
(a) it constitutes personal data of which the applicant is not the data subject as defined in the Data Protection (Jersey) Law 2018; and
(b) its supply to a member of the public would contravene any of the data protection principles, as defined in that Law.