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Update from cross-Committee Board steering improvements for vulnerable children and young people

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Monday 21 March 2022

A cross-Committee group, the Children & Young People's Board, has been progressing work on amending the Children Law and improvements to the wider family justice system, identified through the independent Outcomes Report. It has been consulting widely with professionals and stakeholders in this area.

To support this top-10 recovery action, prioritised within the Government Work Plan, the Board was established in October 2021 to steer the work to achieve government's goal of driving forward positive outcomes for children and young people.

The Children & Young People's Board comprises representation from four Principal Committees including:

The Board has been progressing this important work and intends to report back to the lead Committees of the Committee for Health & Social Care, (Children Law), and the Policy & Resources Committee (sponsor of the Outcomes Report), within the next few months.

It will then be for the States Assembly to consider proposals that will aim to make improvements for children and young people. The focus will be on changes that remove delays in decision making for children who come into contact with aspects of the family justice system, including the court and the Child Youth and Community Tribunal. This is in recognition of how unnecessary delays in these circumstances affect children and young people, which can add to what is already a difficult and traumatic situation.

The Board also acts as the Corporate Parenting Board, providing political oversight for the implementation of the Corporate Parenting Framework 2020-2023. The Corporate Parenting Framework sets out improvements for children who are looked after by the States and care leavers (adults who have now left the care of the States). A Corporate Parent is all elected States Members, officers of all Committees of the States and partner agencies where they have responsibilities and work with children in care and care leavers.

Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq, Chair of the Children & Young People's Board, said:

'I am pleased to be involved in and Chair the cross-Committee Board that is prioritising and supporting improvements in how we support our community's children and young people to thrive. Working with colleagues across the States we aim to deliver tangible improvements to our system, whilst recognising the importance of the Corporate Parenting role and all States' Members responsibilities in this area.'

Deputy Tina Bury, Vice-President of the Committee for Health & Social Care, said:

'The work of the Board - making improvements to our laws protecting young people in our community - is something that I'm really passionate about so I'm very happy to be involved in it. Since the law was introduced it has worked well for the majority of children that come into contact with the family justice system, however it is clear that there are areas that need improvement. The top priority for the Board is to reduce unnecessary delays that occur and this is being addressed through on-the-ground practice and changes to the legislation. The stakeholder engagement has been fantastic; it has laid a really positive foundation for better communication and relationships between all those who work in this area and we very much hope to see that continue, as it will lead to better outcomes for the Bailiwick's children.'

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