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Greenfields: 'Something Has To Give Now'

A Jersey advocacy service say it's saddened but not surprised by the second enforcement notice in four months that has been issued to secure children's home Greenfields.

An unannounced inspection by the Jersey Care Commission unveiled serious breaches that put the staff and vulnerable children in the government's care at risk.

It found issues with staff leadership and training, the facilities these children were living in, and the quality of leadership.

Several deadlines were put in place to implement a host of actions, with a final deadline of Monday 25 April in place.

Jersey Cares says it has raised concerns about the accuracy of the recent Greenfields Statement of Purpose and the lack of progress on 'urgent' actions from 2020, which include the use of prison doors for children's bedrooms.

It has also called for the government to provide an update on its commitment to having a Public Ombudsman in place.

It would investigate complaints independently and was another recommendation in the Jersey Care Inquiry report.

"For the lives of children and families to improve, there is a need for robust and independent scrutiny and structures of accountability. Currently, we rely heavily on the government holding itself to account.

In doing so, we demonstrate that we have failed to learn from the Independent Care Inquiry, and failed to care for children at a vulnerable time when they need us most."

The government has chosen to retain Greenfields as a secure home despite the Jersey Care Inquiry recommending the building be demolished and the Independent Children's Home Association saying it should be converted into a resource centre for families and young people in crisis to get help and support.

Despite several pleas and campaigns, Jersey is still struggling to recruit and retain social workers and foster carers.

The government's Director of Safeguarding and Care, Mark Owers, resigned just a few days after the scathing Greenfields report was published.

He later insisted it was nothing to do with that and it was because of a desire to set up a new children's charity.

Children and Education Minister Deputy Scott Wickenden said at the end of March that work was underway to address the report's findings.

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