Improving wellbeing of vulnerable children in Jersey
Looked After Children are children in foster care or residential homes or those still living with their parents but are subject to a ‘Care Order’. It also includes children who are temporarily looked after for respite on a planned basis.
‘Looked After Children’ and young people share many of the same health risks and problems as their peers but often to a greater degree. They regularly enter care with a worse level of health than their peers in part due to the impact of poverty, abuse and neglect.
Jersey, like any local authority in the UK, has a population of Looked After Children and young people either in foster care, residential homes, ‘kinship care’ (with relatives) or adoptive placements.
Health, educational and social outcomes for children and young people in Jersey who are deemed to be looked after, remain poor. This can result in higher incidences of smoking, substance/alcohol misuse, mental health problems, self harm, school dropout rates and criminality amongst our population of Looked After Children and young people.
We are committed, along with our partnership agencies, to improve the health and wellbeing of the most vulnerable children and young people in Jersey. The Looked After Children’s Nurse works exclusively with Looked After Children and young people, to identify their health needs by co-ordinating individual health assessments and care plans.
The Nurse works closely with Social Work colleagues in Children’s Services to ensure that health assessments are completed in a timely manner and health recommendations are implemented through fast track referrals. In partnership with the Medical Advisor for Looked After Children, the Nurse aims to strengthen the health assessment process and advocacy, to narrow the inequalities and to raise the profile of the health priorities of Looked After Children.
- How often would a Looked After Child be seen for a Health Assessment?
- Do Looked After Children get priority for their health appointments?
Looked After Children up to five years old are seen every six months. Those aged five or over are seen annually.
We try and fast track Looked After Children and their health appointments but this depends on the individual health department. For example, the dental department will try and give quicker appointments to Looked After Children if this is requested but there may be other departments that are not able to do so.