Putting Children First
- Establish Greenfields as a centre for children and families, with specialist therapeutic support, short breaks and emergency beds.
- Directly incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into Jersey law.
- Examine extending universal nursery care to children aged 2-3.
- Expand the school meals programme into every States primary school by September 2023.
Jersey still has much to do to fulfil its commitments following the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry. Progress appears to have stalled and shocking stories are frequently being told in the media about cases where children are not having their rights upheld by the government.
Residential care for young offenders is inadequate, and in government we will put a replacement facility as an urgent priority within our first Government Plan. The current Greenfields site should be established as a centre for children and families, providing specialist therapeutic support, short break services and emergency beds. We will seek to work with the States of Jersey Police, Children’s Services, the Youth Service and the Children’s Commissioner to prevent young people encountering law enforcement, when other services would be much more appropriate.
We will seek to directly incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into Jersey law, so that every government department or public institution is obliged to uphold children’s rights at all times.
The recent extension of free nursery hours for 3- to 4-year-olds from 20 to 30 per week has been a success. The Early Years Policy Development Board recommended that the government establish a long-term plan to move to a universal education offer for 2- to 3-year-olds as well. Reform Jersey accepts this recommendation and will work with nursery care providers and charities to develop this plan. Jersey’s Youth Service provides an amazing provision for children and young people across the Island. However, the service is not enshrined in law. Previous reviews have recommended making the Youth Service a statutory provision, which would include protecting its funding. Reform Jersey supports this.
Lastly, in order to address the worrying levels of food poverty among children, we pledge to expand the school meals programme into every States primary school by September 2023.