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Children's Commissioner resigns

Children's Commissioner resigns

Tuesday 26 July 2022

Children's Commissioner resigns

Tuesday 26 July 2022

Jersey's Children's Commissioner has stepped down from the role for "personal reasons" in what she described as a "very difficult decision".

Deborah McMillan was appointed as the island's first Children's Commissioner in the wake of the damning 2017 Care Inquiry, which recommended that an individual be appointed to represent and promote the rights of children.

A former director of children’s services in the UK, police officer and teacher, Mrs McMillan joined following a 30-year career "championing the rights and future of all children."

She was appointed following a recruitment process which involved being interviewed by a panel of young people.

Chief Minister Deputy Kristina Moore confirmed Mrs McMillan's resignation in a report published this morning.

"The resignation is entirely for personal reasons and is received with regret, although with full understanding," it read.

Touching on Mrs McMillan's key projects while in office, the report said: "The Commissioner has worked diligently to establish the office, which has led on initiatives that include the UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools programme, which now encompasses 40 island schools at various stages of completion, delivered a Legislative Gap Analysis, which now forms the basis for the island's ongoing benchmarking of its compliance with the UNCRC, and has been a pioneer for youth participation as evidenced in the publications of Life on the Rock and the Jersey Youth Manifesto.

"The Office is now well placed to continue and develop that work well into the future."

Following the report's publication, Mrs McMillan commented: "This has been a very difficult decision to make, and it is with real sadness that I have resigned from my post as the island's first Commissioner for Children and Young People.

"However, I can step back with the comfort of seeing what great progress we have been able to make in establishing the office, and indeed the beginnings of an Island-wide culture, that better protects and promotes children's human rights.

"I am immensely proud of what we have managed to achieve in the past four and a half years, and of the fantastic team that I shall be leaving behind. I am pleased and reassured to see that Andrea will be taking over the reins in an interim capacity, and I'm sure the appointments process will select a permanent successor who is similarly committed to championing the rights and voices of Jersey's children."

Deputy Moore praised the Commissioner's "passion and diligence", while Chief Scrutineer and former Children's Minister Deputy Sam Mézec lauded her "lasting impact on the island."

Recruitment for a new Commissioner is due to start in autumn, with a permanent replacement appointed "before the end of the year."

In the interim, qualified social worker Andrea Le Saint, who has experience in areas including child safeguarding, advocacy, participation, mental health and sexual abuse, will be Acting Commissioner.

She joined the Commissioner's team in 2019 and currently has responsibility for leading the office's Advice, Support and Investigation function.

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