Jersey’s Children’s Minister has today published a new independent report which gives an honest and hard-hitting insight into the views of some people with experience of care and what it means to them to ‘be heard’.
The independent report, called Listen Louder, has been produced by a new group called Jersey Cares. The report highlights the need for the Government of Jersey to hear what people with experience of care have to say, to take action and to be held accountable. It recommends the need for an independent body to enable this to happen.
Jersey Cares was formed after a visit to Edinburgh, last March, led by the former Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, and Senator Mézec, to meet the Scottish Government and voluntary services to learn more about the Scottish care system.
The report was funded by the Children’s Commissioner in partnership with the Government of Jersey. The scope of the report was to work with people with experience of care to develop a programme of work to ensure that they are heard and action is taken.
A total of 19 people, aged between 10 and 34 with experience of care, shared experiences and views for the report. A wide range of professionals, working directly and indirectly with children, were involved in the report and a best practice review across the UK was carried out.
One of the key findings from those who participated in the report is that people with experience of care and the workforce, “want the lives of children in care to be much better”.
Another finding states that people with experience of care expect “not to be heard and for no action to be taken”.
Senator Sam Mézec and Mark Rogers, Director General of Children, Young People, Education and Skills, have published the report on gov.je having met with care-experienced people, independent organisations and charities who have contributed to the report.
Senator Mézec has signalled his clear intention to consider the findings and recommendations in the report very carefully.
He said: “As a consequence of the visit to Edinburgh last year, we are all the more determined to work together to enable children and young people in care to have a childhood of love, opportunity and belonging. This report shows the importance of children and young people’s voice and we are committed to listening and acting on what care-experienced children and young people have to say.
“A Corporate Parenting Board is being set up and care-experienced representatives will play an important part of the board in the future. The recent Children’s Plan is another example of how we have moved on. We will also bring forward proposals, which describe greater support for care leavers as part of our Corporate Parenting role as government.
“The Independent Jersey Care Inquiry told us that the Government of Jersey needed to do more on Corporate Parenting.”
A Corporate Parent is an organisation or person in power who has special responsibilities to care-experienced and looked-after children and young people.
Senator Mézec added: “The Council of Ministers is continuing to keep to our Pledge to Put Children First by stepping up our commitment of doing more to fulfil, protect and respect children’s rights.
“Children’s voice and Corporate Parenting has never before been so high-profile in Jersey’s policy proposals. We want all children and young people’s rights and voices not just to be recognised, but to be rooted deep in our society and our public services.
“The Listen Louder report is an independent insight of care-experiences and we need to examine and discuss the findings in more detail.”
Senator Gorst, who is a member of the Jersey Cares group, said: “This report provides a vital insight into the experiences of people with experience of care and helps us to understand what ‘being heard’ means for those with care-experience; what enables this and what stands in the way. People with experience of care must be at the heart of what we do to improve services for children in Jersey. Thank you to all those who have shared their views so openly for this report. To those who chose not to contribute because they were sure, based on their experiences, that nothing would change, it is my sincerest desire that things will change and that you are valued and loved.”
The Director General of Children, Young People, Education and Skills, Mark Rogers, added: “I would like to thank all those with care-experience, professionals and charities who have contributed to this independent report.
“Almost two years on from the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, the systems and processes to protect children are developing, but still haven’t improved enough. Reports such as this one highlight the challenges that we need to rise to and help to reinforce the Government’s ambition, which is for Jersey to be the best place for all children to grow up in.
“We welcome this report and will consider its findings and recommendations very carefully, as we continue to implement the Children’s Plan and the Children’s Services Improvement Plan.”
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Notes to Editors:
The Listen Louder report was commissioned by the Director for Children’s Policy, funded by the Children’s Commissioner and sponsored by Senators Sam Mézec and Ian Gorst.
The Government of Jersey wanted to understand how people with care-experience in Jersey could be heard and have influence.
A total of 19 care experienced people aged from 10-34 were interviewed for this report.
A number of professionals working both directly and indirectly with children were consulted for their views on the enablers and barriers to people with care-experience being heard and their views acted upon.
The group who produced the report is called Jersey Cares and those involved include: young adults with lived experience of care, as well as organisations and charities including Caritas, Barnardo’s, the Methodist Centre, Shelter Trust, and Brightly.
Key Overall Findings from Listen Louder report
1. People with experience of care expect not to be heard and for no action to be taken.
2. People with experience of care wish to be heard on primary issues such as seeing their family, knowing their life story, where they will live, their opportunities, challenging stigma and their futures.
3. People with experience of care link being heard and their views acted upon to their sense of self, their worth, belonging and their futures.
4. People with experience of care have often faced devastating circumstances, with profound current impact, linked to their experience of care.
5. The workforce expresses concern and care about people with experience of care. They have detailed professional, local and child insight, which is under-utilised.
6. The workforce often can't make things happen for children. They trace this to not being heard or having influence and being unclear about policies and entitlements.
7. Work to regain the trust of people with experience of care, and to enable them to see that if they speak out they will be heard, and action will be taken, takes time and begins with relationships, constancy and action.
8. People with experience of care, and the workforce, want the lives of children in care to be much better.
For further information, please contact Head of Communications for Children, Young People, Education and Skills, Elaine Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org or the press office on 01534 440430 or email@example.com