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Children Services complaints soar

Children Services complaints soar

Monday 24 October 2016

Children Services complaints soar

Monday 24 October 2016

Complaints to Jersey’s Children’s Services have rocketed in six years, although the Minister responsible says he has "serious doubts" over the figures.

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that in 2010 there were zero complaints to Children’s Services, but since then the figure has continued to rise sharply.

Complaints have included communication, both oral and written, attitudes and behaviour, care, competence, confidentiality, failure to follow agreed procedure, patient privacy and dignity and patient property.

The FoI revealed in 2010 there were no complaints made to Children’s Services, but a year later that figure was six. The following year it was seven and by 2013 it rose to nine.

In 2014 the figure stood at 16 and the following year it actually fell to 15.

So far in 2016 there have been 24 complaints, a massive rise from 2010.

Health Minister Andrew Green says he is concerned over the current figure for 2016, but will investigate the 2010 statistics.

He said: "The figure zero might be officially what was recorded, but I am confident that figure is not correct and I will be looking into why it is not correct. I cannot believe there were no complaints in a whole year. It might be that the way we have recorded them has changed.

"As for the figure this year, that is a real concern because 24 is 24 too many. 

"I believe that people have got more confidence in complaining, which can be a good thing.

"Also, one of the reports into children services a while ago showed that we were slow in removing children to a place of safety. We have placed more children in foster care and in our own homes to protect children and as a result of that policy more families are going to feel aggrieved. The number of children taken away from difficult situations which is not in their best interests has risen and that is a policy I support 100% as it involves the protection of children. It is sometimes a balancing act, but I will be guided by the professionals in this matter and I think they are right that we should pursue a more vigorous stance, even if it may lead to more complaints."

The FoI also showed that 145 staff joined Children’s Services during the six-year period 2010-16, while 151 staff left.

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