A lack of referrals to the Children’s Convenor from Alderney is not necessarily a bad thing with the on-island bodies there potentially working well to support any young people who need help before the situation escalates.
The Convenor, Karen Brady recently spent time in Alderney at the invitation of the Policy & Finance Committee (PFC).
PFC Members had been concerned at the low number of referrals to the Convenor from Alderney, but Ms Brady told them the majority of referrals received by the Convenor were related to children in Guernsey where there were concerns about their care or they had committed an offence.
A lack of any such concerns over children in Alderney may be attributed to two theories she said.
While it’s possible the services available to children on Alderney are not widely known and that people may not be aware that anyone can make a referral to the Convenor, Ms Brady also highlighted that the low number of referrals may indicate that the regular liaison that takes place with several on-island bodies, including the police and local education specialists, is working well to identify and support children and young people who need additional support.
Pictured: Alderney's "beautiful environment" was praised by Ms Brady as a great place for children to live.
Ms Brady said: “Alderney is a beautiful environment for children and young people to grow up in and is an important part of the remit of the Children’s Tribunal System. Some children and young people will need additional help and support to ensure that they can reach their full potential and it is important that islanders are aware of where to get help and support and when it might be appropriate to refer a child or young person to the Convenor.
“During my trip, I was lucky enough to speak to a wide range of people, including the Head Teacher and Inclusion Manager at St Anne’s School, the Greffier of the Court of Alderney and Police Sergeant James Taylor, to discuss how we can improve visibility and awareness of the CYCT and Convenor. I was also able to attend a meeting of the Alderney Support Group, which gave me an insight into how services are working together to support children and young people, as well as visit St Annes Playschool and Humming Bees Nursery.
“I look forward to further opportunities for myself and my colleagues to engage locally with the community.”
Pictured: Karen Brady.
The 2008 Children's Law, which is currently in the process of being updated, introduced the role of Children’s Convenor and the Child, Youth and Community Tribunal (CYCT).
The CYCT is a legal Tribunal that makes decisions to help improve the lives of children and young people under the age of eighteen in Guernsey and Alderney, while the Children’s Convenor is responsible for investigating concerns about the safety, welfare or behaviour of children and young people when there might be a need for legal steps to be taken to ensure their protection or wellbeing.
There aren't any Alderney representatives on the CYCT at the moment but the next recruitment process will encourage applications from Alderney.
Ms Brady will also provide feedback to PFC following the conclusion of meetings with other on-island bodies.
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