A new, independent service to improve the work done with children in Jersey who are on the Child Protection Register or in the care of the States of Jersey as “Looked After Children” is being launched this week.
The Independent Safeguarding and Standards Service (ISS), is concerned with the safeguarding of vulnerable children and young people in Jersey, including those from Jersey who are placed in the UK. The ISS arranges and chairs Child Protection Conferences and Reviews, as well as reviewing Care Plans for Jersey’s Looked After Children, and has taken on more staff and moved location to offer an improved service.
There are currently 68 children in Jersey on the Child Protection Register, and 84 children or young people in care, including 12 who are placed in the UK.
Although there was a reviewing service in the Island previously, it only had one part-time member of dedicated staff. The larger, re-homed service, which is based in Britannia Place, is a recommendation of the Williamson Report, published in 2008, which made a number of suggestions as to how services for children and young people in Jersey should be improved.
The ISS team is made up of a manager, an independent reviewing officer / child protection adviser and two administrative staff; the manager also has access to two UK experts who can be contacted for external professional support, supervision and guidance. They are Rikki Sneddon, a Child protection Coordinator based in Glasgow, who works with the Scottish government on child protection, and Jon Fayle, who is Chair of the National Association of Independent Reviewing Officers in England and is an expert in the field of Looked After Children. Jon is often involved in policy development in England.
The ISS chairs around 350 multi-agency meetings a year in Jersey, which often involve the child or young person, as well as those involved in their lives such as the parents or carer, social workers, health professionals and teachers. The facilities at Britannia Place can provide dedicated office space for such meetings, in a separate location to any other Health and Social Services buildings, or other States departments, so those attending meetings are in a comfortable, neutral environment; this is particularly important for children and families.
Young people in care are actively encouraged to participate in their reviews and the ISS is looking at innovative ways to help them do this effectively such as using video diaries or powerpoint presentations to explain how they feel about their care. The ISS has also made a promise to young people that both the ISS and organisations which work with them will treat them well and will honour what they have agreed to do.
Linda Dodds, manager of the ISS said: “We are very pleased that as a team, we are now able to offer what we hope will become a flagship independent service for children and young people in Jersey, who need to have reviews or safeguarding meetings so their future care and welfare can be properly planned and reviewed in an appropriate environment. The nature of our work is confidential, sensitive and complex and for this reason, it is crucial to have a dedicated team and stand-alone office space. We are striving to become a centre of excellence for safeguarding and standards work and are particularly pleased to have the expertise of Rikki Sneddon and Jon Fayle as advisors to the service.”