New plan to tackle child neglect in Jersey

  • Video report by Alex Spiceley

A new plan has been revealed to tackle child neglect in Jersey.

It comes as evidence suggests the coronavirus pandemic has made life worse for the island's most vulnerable children - with officials highlighting "reduced social contacts, pressures on household budgets and additional stresses on families".

The plan will see a multi-agency response to investigating cases, so that information can be shared more easily.

Additionally, new training will be rolled out to frontline staff so they can spot the signs of child neglect sooner.

Islanders will also be reminded that they can play their part in spotting and reporting cases of cruelty.

Signs that things may not be quite right:

  • A child frequently looks sad

  • Has poor hygiene

  • May be hungry

  • Inappropriately dressed for the weather

Anyone with concerns is asked to contact the Children and Families Hub who say they will ensure the child is "seen, heard and helped".

Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré said: "I would like to thank Sarah Elliott and the committed professionals from across the island who have shared their understanding of the complexity of neglect and helped us get to this point.

"This strategy, supported by robust oversight and effective supervision, will help professionals recognise neglect early and effectively respond to, help, and protect Jersey’s children and young people."

The Children’s Commissioner for Jersey, Deborah McMillan said: "I welcome the launch of this neglect strategy, especially at a time when the pandemic has worsened the situations that many vulnerable families find themselves in.

"It is really important to have in place this kind of framework to help professionals get the best results in their efforts to support families who are struggling."

The Chair of the Safeguarding Partnership Board, Sarah Elliott said: "All families come under pressure from time to time. Although many parents are able to provide loving care for their child during difficult periods, increased or continued stress can affect how a parent can look after their child.

"This new strategy will help ensure front line staff can spot the early signs of neglect so that early support can be provided before a child suffers serious or long-lasting harm."