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Services At Greenfields 'Must Improve Quickly'

The Children and Education Minister says the services provided to young people placed at Greenfields must improve - and quickly.

The Jersey Care Commission has issued a second 'Improvement Notice' in four months because of serious issues with the facilities, leadership, training, and staffing levels.

The care regulator carried out an unannounced inspection earlier this month - and has put urgent deadlines in place to get the improvements sorted.

Deputy Scott Wickenden insists he takes the notice very seriously - and work is already underway.

"We have been open and transparent about the challenges that the Government of Jersey must overcome to keep children and staff safe, and to ensure we meet the needs of the young people in secure care. The safety of the young people in our care is paramount and we will ensure any repairs, highlighted in the report, are undertaken immediately.

I am determined to ensure officers in CYPES, and in partner agencies, play their full and active part and meet their responsibilities to deliver multi-disciplinary and integrated support to the highest standards for all young people remanded, sentenced and on secure accommodation orders.

We are working hard to address the staffing challenges: a permanent Registered Manager has begun their application for oversight, and a dedicated improvement team has been introduced. This includes a residential children’s home expert with experience of managing homes in England judged as outstanding, and a manager from the Jersey Prison Service.

The service is multi-disciplinary and is overseen by the Greenfields Management Board, which was established in December 2021 with representatives from the Children’s Social Care Service, Probation, Education, CAMHS, Health, Skills, Youth Service, Independent Advocacy and the Office of the Children’s Commissioner. This group meet regularly and work together to raise standards as quickly as possible.

Finally, we have developed a Young Person’s guide that clearly sets out exactly what young people can expect in relation to the care they will receive."

The issues at the secure children's home have been heavily criticised over the last couple of days.

In response to the Children and Education Minister's statement, Children's Commissioner Deborah McMillan says this isn't anything new.

"I'm really disappointed. This is the second Improvement Notice since November and we have to remember it's just five years since the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry pointed out exactly these issues and yet we're still seeing that the care, protection and support for children in care of the Minister is just not good enough.

The challenges are clear and they're not easy challenges to overcome, but nevertheless, to read a report that says that the safety of children in our care is not good enough means that the government must do everything in their armory to improve things and at pace.

I note the Minister says that we're working hard to address the challenges, but that's been said over the last four years.

I think what is necessary here is for the government to realise that the answer to improving things at that home is a collaborative approach and it's going to take a whole range of agencies to come together to make sure that the children in care of the Minister who live there, because this is their home, are safe and that they're able to thrive.

It can't continue. It's just not fair and it's not right. These children are there because they need help and support and it's important that when they're there under the care of the Minister, they get the highest standard of care - not the worst.

I think this island community would not want that to continue to happen."

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