IN a letter sent to the government, the children’s commissioner had condemned the ‘unhelpful’ and ‘obstructive behaviour’ of senior social care staff.
In the letter, which has been made public, Andrea Le Saint said she was seeking ‘assurance’ from Children’s Minister Inna Gardiner that the ‘unregistered regulated activity’ in three children’s homes recently reported by the Jersey Care Commission would ‘not happen again’.
Ms Le Saint said she was ‘deeply concerned’ that neither the Care Commission nor her office had been notified of these homes operating, adding: ‘This lack of transparency and collaborative working is very concerning to me in relation to children’s rights to safety, advocacy, participation, standards of care and protection.’
She added that she was ‘saddened’ to report ‘difficulty’ gaining access to children to assure them of their rights, and assessed behaviour of senior social care staff as ‘unhelpful and even obstructive’, which she deemed ‘unacceptable’.
Ms Le Saint said she had previously written to the former Children’s Minister in relation to children having previously been placed in unregistered accommodation in ‘crisis situations’.
She wrote: ‘It is incumbent on the Government of Jersey to ensure that it is prepared for such circumstances through its sufficiency planning for children in need of alternative care. Never more so than for children in the height of trauma and in crisis.’
Earlier this month, Ms Le Saint attended the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which will soon present its concluding observations and recommendations on how Jersey is fulfilling its obligations to the committee.
Ms Le Saint said she would ‘welcome the opportunity’ to meet the Children’s Minister ‘to discuss the government’s proposals to remedy the issues and improve human-rights protections for children and young people in your care’.