The government is creating an 'intensive fostering' service to avoid having to send the island’s “more challenging children and young people” to care institutions off-island.
The development comes after a critical report by the Jersey Care Commission following an inspection of Children's Services by Ofsted.
Published in September 2018, the report found that, despite it being seen as a 'last resort' option, as many as a quarter of children in care had to be split from their families and friends and sent away from Jersey because there weren’t enough appropriate placements in Jersey.
This, they found, was mainly due to a lack of appropriate facilities and fostering placements - despite numerous campaigns by the Fostering and Adoption team.
Pictured: A quarter previously had to be sent off island to receive appropriate care.
While it was noted that children with “complex needs” could benefit from specialist residential placements off-island, inspectors found that sending children away could cause emotional and educational difficulties for the children by removing them from their friends, families and schools.
To address this issue, Children’s Services are now developing a new fostering programme focused on children with complex needs.
A government spokesperson told Express that research for the service, which would offer “local fostering placements for Jersey’s more challenging children and young people”, was commissioned in 2018.
“This work is part of a sufficiency plan which will also consider the overall improvement of placement choices,” they said.
Pictured: Families will receive specialised training and support.
Foster carers recruited to the new service will receive specialised training and support to be able to work "therapeutically" with the children in their care. Existing foster carers will also be able to apply for the role and will be assessed individually for the different requirements.
The spokesperson added: “An outline plan of what an intensive fostering service entails has been devised and work is now under way with other government functions, including Revenue Jersey, to further develop this. The costs of such a service are being explored and will go through the usual approval processes.”
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