5 July 2018
Michael Cotterall from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Anthony Douglas CBE, from the Children & Family Court and Advisory & Support Service (Cafcass) arrived on St Helena on Saturday, 23 June 2018.
Michael and Anthony spent a week on-Island undertaking a review of how services across all parts of St Helena support the welfare and safety of children living on the Island.
Michael is a Senior Policy Officer based in the Child Safeguarding Unit of the FCO in the UK.
“The UK Government is supporting the Overseas Territories in their commitment to ensuring the highest possible standards of protection for children. We recognise the significant efforts that St Helena has invested in child safeguarding in the last few years, and want to understand how we can support St Helena in consolidating the progress that has been made.”
Anthony Douglas has been Chief Executive of Cafcass, the specialist national agency that supports over 130,000 children in public and private law cases every year, since 2004. He was Chair of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) from 2005 – 2015. Anthony was awarded a CBE in 2008 for his work in family justice and adoption.
Following discussions between the FCO and St Helena, FCO commissioned Anthony to support St Helena to review the services that support and protect children and to work with the professionals on the Island to consider future technical support that can be provided to help ensure that services are both fit for purpose and sustainable into the future.
During their week’s work on the Island, Michael and Anthony met with all Elected Members, the Chief Secretary and her Core Leadership Group and a range of professionals from the Health, Police, Education and Safeguarding Directorates and the Attorney General’s Chambers. More importantly, Anthony met with children who have experienced services for any additional needs and parents who have worked with Children’s Services.
Director of Safeguarding, Matt Ansell, said:
“We have been working with Michael from the FCO for several months to develop a working and supportive relationship which will help us ensure that services are safe and sustainable for the future. It has been a pleasure working with Anthony this week and hugely beneficial for services on the Island to have the input, oversight and support from someone as experienced and knowledgeable in the field of Children’s Services. We are looking forward to ongoing work with the FCO to ensure that we continue to develop and improve the way that all professionals and the wider community safeguard and protect children on St Helena.”
“I was impressed by the strong and positive outcomes achieved by all involved with Children’s Services in the last few years, which undoubtedly leave vulnerable children living more safely and with stronger life chances. My programme of work was superbly supported and organised and I found the Island and islanders to be determined and resourceful within all of the constraints and challenges they face. I look forward to discussing the next steps and way forward so that further improvements in services to the most vulnerable children on St Helena can be achieved.”
St Helena Government will consider how to take forward any recommendations arising from the visit with the Safeguarding of Children Board, responsible for oversight and delivery. The UK Government will continue to engage with St Helena in support of its work in this area.
#StHelena #Safeguarding #FCO #MyCafcass
5 July 2018