Children / Young People

The Progress Party’s plan for our children and young people

The Progress Party is committed to making Jersey the best place in the world to be a child and a young person. It is vital for us to enable our future generations to live happy and meaningful lives and reach their potential. We need a better and more inclusive vision for our children.

We need a platform for our children and young people that is conducive to their wellbeing and one that develops a wide range of positive skills, both emotional as well as cognitive. We need a platform where our children’s opinions, needs, passions and energies are listened to and dealt with.

It is all well and good for the current government to say ‘we are putting children first’ but we need actions not words.

When it comes to the strategies protect Children and Young People’s physical and mental health, many have been developed, but many are not yet implemented or resourced. Leadership, investment and vision is lacking. There is a plummeting lack of confidence and trust in the system.

The island needs an inclusive approach, such as normalising additional educational needs in order to avoid stigma. We need an approach that helps children identify their future so they can develop a positive and purposeful identity as an adult in the community.

We owe it to our children to build a resilience into them, not by constantly pointing out their failings or ignoring their needs but by providing them with a positive learning environment, a safe haven when they have difficulties, a resilient platform that encourages each and every one of them to build confidence and self-esteem.

Policy Development on Children and Young People

When it comes to Children and Young People, many of the guidelines needed to protect both their physical and mental health are already in place here in Jersey… they just need implementing… they just need to happen. For our youngest islanders particularly, The Progress Party will implement the 1001 critical years manifesto in full.

Policies for Children and Young People MUST be joined up across all government departments. At the moment, it feels that there is a complete lack of confidence and trust in the Jersey system. What the system needs is delivery. We need action not reaction!

Currently in Jersey, Children and Young people (and their parents & carers) are NOT being listened to… we must take note of what they tell us… and act on it. The Progress Party will develop a “passport” for every child so that their individual physical and mental health history is recorded in one place.

Many Children and Young People need help to understand how they can still live life and understand the parts they can play on our island. They need emotional support, physical support, and mental health support. Parents and Carers too need support so they can play their part in helping their children develop and grow. This government have commissioned an inclusion review, but it is not clear where this, what it says and the actions that need to be taken.

The autonomy that this government has provided to Headteachers, while a good thing in many ways, has led to different schools having different approaches to special needs children. Some of these pupils are being removed from schools to “help” with that schools running. The island needs an inclusive approach, normalising additional educational needs in order to avoid stigma. We need an approach that helps children to grow, develop and identify their future so they can work towards a positive and purposeful identity as an adult in our community.

With the right resources, and early interventions, we can keep special needs children in mainstream education, but there are currently not enough staff to support teachers with the varied and complex needs of these particular children.

Early diagnosis and early intervention with mental health challenges is vital for many children. There needs to be access to proper help 24/7, not just during the working week. We need the CAMHS Service, a crisis intervention team, and an inpatient/day service available at ALL times.

It is clear that right now both CAMHS and adult mental health services are in crisis. There seems to be little or no challenge to improve services, despite the hard work and efforts of many of those working within these vital services. Our mental health services seem to have lost their identity, and there appears to be little or no governance.

CAMHS is a specialist mental health service for children and adolescents, but we have repeatedly seen the transfer staff in from the adult mental health sector – which is simply not best practice. We need specialists in children’s development. The Progress Party believe that we must invest in proper re-training for adult mental health nurses to develop into the role of a CAMHS clinician.

The recent mental health review came up with good ideas, but these have not been implemented. We have many examples of children causing social problems in and around St Helier, but there is currently little or no help for them if they have mental health challenges. There must be more outreach and intensive support for these children. This support must work alongside the youth service and other agencies.

There are not enough school counselors available to listen to children’s problems and the counselors we do have are just too busy! Government have just been too slow to commission these much required services.

We need a proper crisis intervention team, and we need to stop unloading patients to the third sector – the third sector is vital to our island, but must work with – and not instead of – vital first line support. Children and young people are not getting help unless they are in crisis. That is why The Progress Party believes we urgently need a crisis intervention team, tasked and resourced primarily to prevent crisis and not just respond to it.

We also need to be far more pro-active on ante-natal and post-natal matters. We need to be far more supportive of parents, and especially first-time parents, with their children’s development. We need to support all parents to be as involved as possible in the upbringing of their children. The Bridge is a key resource for us and a wonderful asset to the Island… and so needs our continued support.

Our island has a superb mental health team, but so many of the individuals in that team have left the service due in no small part to a complete lack of good management. Their morals, their codes of conduct and their ethics have all been compromised by the service being prepared to accept standards that are NOT best practice. This must not continue.

All the necessary tools to help Children and Young People on our island are there…..they just need proper management and excellent implementation. Our nursery offering is better than it was, but is still complicated for many to understand.

The fact that Jersey provides 38 weeks of free nursery education for young children is excellent, but we need to appreciate that the other 14 weeks need covering, as well as providing for school holiday periods. Many parents really can’t afford the extra cost, and are forced to find the money if they want to make use of the free offering.

Children get left behind if they don’t get the right support in their formative months and years. Less well-off families lose out both ways. The Nursery scheme is not means tested and The Progress Party think that this should change. Children that are not supported, or children that have needs that are not met, have repeatedly been shown to have poor outcomes as adults.

The most important time is the first 18 months. Brain development happens in the 0-18 months and early teenage years. We need to invest in and support our youngest islanders through their first “1001 days”… and The Progress Party will do that.

Children First shouldn’t be a buzz-word, a soundbite or just a fashionable statement…..it is a statement with meaning and part of the vital work that HAS to be implemented for the ongoing success of our island.

How will we do this?

The Progress Party will implement the 1001 critical years manifesto in full.

The Progress Party will develop a “passport” for every child so that their individual physical and mental health history is recorded in one place. 

We will provide the resources required for the CAMHS Service to develop a crisis intervention team, and an inpatient/day service available at ALL times. – and where necessary provide re-training for adult mental health nurses to develop into the role of a CAMHS clinician. 

We will sponsor a report into the provision of school counselor services and develop a plan to invest in the development and growth of this vital service

We will continue to support and invest in The Bridge

We will look into the provision of mental health services on the island and support the re-building and development to a level far above where it is right now.

We will develop a means-tested provision of nursery services to ensure that all children, regardless of their background, have access to 52 weeks of nursery provision.