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Government updates its plan for improving the lives of children

Jersey's government has updated its four-year plan for improving the lives of children and young people.

Youngsters were invited to review, comment and feedback on the draft of this plan and contribute to its final version.

Its vision is carried over from the last Children and Young Person's Plan, with its focus being that all children should have an equal opportunity to be safe, flourish and fulfil their potential.

Ministers intend to implement this vision by focusing on five 'Big Picture Outcomes'.

Its aim is that all children and young people in Jersey will be:

1. Healthy and happy

2. Can learn and achieve

3. Enjoy a decent standard of living

4. Are safe and loved

5. Are included, respected and valued

      Suggestions from children in relation to the Children and Young Person's Plan. Credit: Government of Jersey

In practice, to make sure children meet the aim of being happy and healthy, the government will be trying to improve children's health-related quality of life score in island, make sure more children are a healthy weight and have access to public places to keep active.

This reflects feedback from young people who said that being happy and healthy means 'having access to cheap healthy food' and 'more places to play'.

                          Further suggestions from children in relation to the Children and Young Person's Plan. Credit: Government of Jersey

To ensure kids are meeting aim 2, and can learn and achieve, Jersey's government is planning to bring down pupil absences, reduce the number of 16-18 year olds not in education or work and enable more pupils to get eight GCSEs.

Ministers want to create a society where fewer young people have damp or black mould in their homes and aren't struggling with financial issues. This is part of their third aim, to make sure children have a good standard of living.

The plan also has a focus on reducing the amount of girls that experience inappropriate comments or unwanted attention of a sexual nature, as well as bringing down numbers of children who experience abuse and bullying.

This is part of the government's aim to make sure children are safe and loved (aim 4).

Children consulted on the plan said being safe a loved means 'feeling safe and not bullied', having a 'loving family' and 'living in a safe and happy home'.

      More suggestions from children in relation to the Children and Young Person's Plan. Credit: Government of Jersey

The government's plan is also going to try and increase the number of young people who feel a sense of belonging to Jersey and reduce the number of those who feel they have been treated unfairly. 

This is to make sure all children feel included, respected and valued, in line with aim 5. 

       How the Children and Young Person's Plan intertwines with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.  Credit: Government of Jersey

Richard Vibert, Minister for Children, hopes this plan will help to turn around a decline in living standards, something he told Channel 103 is of 'extreme concern to him'.

"Moving to the Living Wage is a move that is key to make, although that in itself has an impact on businesses. 

"(Another way would be) Trying to bring more competition into the retail sector, the food sector. Improving the standard of living for me is very important."

Children's Minister Richard Vibert

Constable Vibert wants as many young people as possible to be aware of new plans: 

"I'm more than happy to arrange even to visit pupils at their school and go through some of the plans. 

"Anything that encourages young people to be involved in and be interested in government is doing, I am happy to promote."

Key performance indicators and surveys are planned to evaluate the success of these aims over the next few years.

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