Here, Minister for Children and Education, Deputy Inna Gardiner, responds to a letter from the Acting Children’s Commissioner, following publication of reports earlier this week by the the Jersey Care Commission.
The reports related to children being placed in emergency, temporary accommodation that was not registered with the Jersey Care Commission.
The full text of the response from Deputy Gardiner is below.
Speaking about the issues raised this week, Deputy Gardiner said:
“I know that poeple may have been worried this week after hearing reports of emergency temporary accommodation for children in care.
“When I became Minister for Children and Education, I knew I would be working in the shadow of the Jersey Care Inquiry. The Inquiry highlighted the Island’s history of failing to care for – and protect – our most vulnerable children. Part of my job is to make sure that we never repeat those mistakes.
“I am not going to play down some of the challenges I’ve inherited, such as the lack of capacity in the children’s homes. At the meantime, I will not leave children in unsafe households. As we are creating new children’s homes, including therapeutic provision, we will, at times, need to use temporary, emergency accommodation and I will welcome to work with the Children’s Commissioner and the Care Commissioner to create a framework which will support these types of arrangements.
“We are recruiting more foster carers and staff to provide safe, loving homes for children and young people. We opened two new children homes for four children in March this year and more are to come. All of this is backed by £6.5 million per year to make sure that we keep improving.
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t still hard decisions to make, every day.
Where children and young people are at risk of harm, staff can – and should – act quickly to keep them safe. I am confident that all staff have acted in the best interests of children and young people.
However, I accept that we have not always followed this quick action with the right notification. I’m working with officers to make sure that we always follow the right process, even in challenging situations.
And I will keep working with the Children’s Commissioner, with the Jersey Care Commission, and with my staff. All of us are committed to the same thing: giving children and young people safe, loving homes.
I am publishing my letter to the Children’s Commissioner below.