Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Jersey review recommends external scrutiny for children's services

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An inquiry into child protection on Jersey has found no evidence of current institutional or systematic abuse of children on the island. UK social work expert Andrew Williamson, who was commissioned by the Jersey government to undertake the review last August, said childrens homes were safe but recommended the creation of a childrens minister for the island and external scrutiny of services. He also called for a whistleblowing policy for staff, saying that many felt unsupported when facing difficulties. The review, published over the weekend, was prompted by concerns from UK social worker Simon Bellwood and former health and social services minister Stuart Syvret. Solitary confinement in secure care Bellwood was sacked from his post as manager of the Greenfields secure unit on the island after criticising a policy of locking children in solitary confinement, known as Grand Prix. Syvret, who supported Bellwoods case, claimed there was widespread malpractice in childrens services. Williamson found that the Grand Prix system was no longer in operation, and that a welfare model of care was now in place at Greenfields. He said that while it had not been possible to know with any certainty whether the system had been overused or abused in the past, action should be take if evidence came to light.

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