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Owers: Resignation 'Of My Own Volition'

Mark Owers has spoken out on Twitter after he resigned as the government's Director of Children's Services.

He stepped down just days after a report detailing serious failings with the secure children's home Greenfields.

An unannounced inspection found failings with staff numbers, staff training, the quality of facilities, and the quality of leadership.

The Jersey Care Commission has issued a second Improvement Notice in just four months.

Urgent deadlines have been put in place to address those issues.

In a tweet, Mr. Owers says he's resigned 'with a heavy heart' and he'll be working his three months' notice.

He adds that he continues to have the full support of the government 'whatever you may read'.

Mr. Owers told Channel 103 last year that Greenfields wouldn't close as a secure home, despite that being recommended by the Independent Children's Home Association.

He said that some children will have such pronounced needs that they'll need a safe and secure environment to thrive.

In a statement after the details of the unannounced inspection were announced by the Jersey Care Commission, Children and Education Minister Deputy Scott Wickenden said services provided to young people placed at Greenfields must improve - and quickly.

However, the Children's Commissioner says these are issues that were highlighted five years ago in the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry.

Channel 103 had asked for the reason for Mr. Owers' departure. We received no response.

Our requests to interview Deputy Wickenden have not been answered.

Update

The government has issued a statement - in which Mr. Owers insists his resignation is not connected to the recent report showing the ongoing failures at Greenfields.

"People will know that I am committed to improving services for children and young people on the Island.

Earlier this year, I had decided that at some point I wanted to move out of the Government to set up a new children’s charity. I have decided that now is the time for me to do this and this is entirely my own timing and choice.

This is not connected to the recent report into the Greenfield unit, as inferred in some reports."

Children and Education Minister Deputy Scott Wickenden has paid tribute to Mr. Owers - adding that he and the department remain focused on the continual improvement of all of its services.

He also says future changes to the Senior Leadership structure will be announced 'at the appropriate time'.

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