Report on impact of COVID-19 on children and young people published
5th April 2022
The Children, Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel has published a report which examines the impact of the Government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic on children and young people in Jersey. The report, which focuses on the period between the first lockdown in March 2020 and September 2021, was informed directly by the views and experiences of children and young people.
In conducting this review, the Panel found that:
- Children and young people had a mixture of positive and negative experiences during the pandemic, with some feeling that they had not been put first during the Government's response
- The impact of children and young people being unable to socialise during the pandemic requires consideration and any issues arising from this addressed by the Government as a matter of priority, particularly for children in their Early Years.
- Reports of the rise of foodbank usage and pockets of hidden poverty that may have been exacerbated by the pandemic and could be directly affecting children are of particular concern
- Ensuring that children's learning was maintained throughout the pandemic has been a strength of the Government's response
- Flexible working arrangements have allowed children to spend more time with their families.
In turn, the Panel's report makes the following recommendations:
- A post-Covid-19 recovery strategy which is specific for children and young people and focuses on all the key areas of a child's life should be brought forward as a matter of priority, with sufficient funding allocated in line with that which is being allocated to assist economic recovery.
- There is a concern that the full impact of the pandemic on children's learning will not be known for some time and that the Minister for Children and Education must continue to monitor and address any emerging issues with adequate funding as a matter of priority.
- The Government must establish the full extent of foodbank usage in 2022 and conduct a review to assess the barriers to preventing and overcoming poverty in the Island.
- The States Employment Board should seek to maintain flexible working arrangements post-pandemic in order to promote a family friendly approach.
Speaking directly to the children and young people of Jersey, Deputy Louise Doublet, Vice-Chair of the Children, Education and Home Affairs Panel and Lead Member for the review said: "It was really important that we listened to you to find out what impact the pandemic has had on you and your families. You told us that since Covid-19 came to Jersey there have been some really hard times, such as when you couldn't go to school and see your friends, but also some good things like being able to spend more time at home with your families.
Thank you so much to all the children and young people who spoke to us via focus groups, the survey, or by filling in postcards. All of your views matter and they have all gone into our report. We are asking the Government to take action to help you ensure you have everything you need to be happy and healthy, based on the things you have told us. One of the main things we have asked the Government to do is to keep listening to you and we hope that you will continue to feel empowered to speak up and tell those in power what you need."
Deputy Doublet also said: "I would like to thank our advisers Dr. Ceri Brown and Dr. Michael Donnelly who provided us with a very in-depth analysis of the impact of the pandemic response on children's development and 4insight for facilitating the focus groups.
"The Panel has found that many aspects of the Government's response in relation to the impact on children are to be commended, however, concerns do exist in relation to the long-term recovery plans for children and young people and the impacts (particularly social, emotional and developmental impacts) that may take some time to become fully realised. We are also concerned about the impact of the pandemic on some of the more vulnerable children in our society, including the very young, which will need to be addressed as a matter of priority.
"We have made a number of recommendations to constructively assist the Government in its ongoing response to the pandemic and will be suggesting that the next Children, Education and Home Affairs Panel continues to hold the Government to account as the response to the pandemic continues post-election"
You can read the Panel's report here.
You can also read a digital summary version of the report here.
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