Children / Young People

The Progress Party’s plan for our 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 young babies particularly, The Progress Party will implement the 1001 critical years manifesto in full.

Policies for Children and Young People have to be joined up across all government departments. At the moment there’s a complete lack of confidence and trust in the Jersey system. What the system needs is a delivery option.

We need action not reaction!

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

Children and Young People need to help to understand how they can still “live life”. They need emotional support, physical support, and mental health support. Parents too need support so they can play their part in helping their children. This government have commissioned an “inclusion review”, but where is it and what does it say?

The autonomy for Headteachers, while a good thing in many ways, seems to have 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 identify their future so they can develop a positive and purposeful identity as an adult in the community.

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

The Progress Party’s aim

There’s no nice way to say it, but both CAMHS and adult mental health services are in crisis. There seems to be little or no challenge to improve services. Our mental health services seem to have lost their identity, and there appears to be little or no governance.

The recent mental health review came up with good ideas, but these have not been implemented. We have many children causing social problems in and around St Helier, but there’s 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 councillors available to listen to children’s problems, that is because they are just too busy.  Government have just been too slow to commission services.

We need a proper “crisis intervention team”, and we need to stop “unloading” patients to the third sector. Children and young people are not getting help unless they are in “crisis”. That is why The Progress Party believes we need a crisis intervention team.

We also need to be acting 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 get fathers “more involved”. The Bridge is a wonderful asset to the Island….and needs continued support.

There is a really good mental health team “on island”, but most of the individuals in that team have left the service due 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 cannot continue.

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

30 weeks of free nursery education for young children is really good, but we need to appreciate that the other 14 weeks need covering as well. Many parents really can’t afford that extra cost, and they HAVE 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 very early months. 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 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 return to “1001 days”…and The Progress Party will do that.

Children First shouldn’t be a “buzz word”, a “sound bite” or “fashionable”…..it’s vital work that has to be implemented.