Urgent action is needed to improve children’s services across the Isle of Man, Tynwald members have been told.

The call came as politicians debated an Ofsted report published last month, which said children in care were being “failed”.

Rob Callister MHK called for a non-political and independent children’s commissioner “to be appointed as quickly as possible”.

Health Minister Lawrie Hooper said work was underway to address the concerns in the report.

The document highlighted increased issues around children in semi-independent living, particularly surrounding drug and alcohol misuse, poor mental health and a serious risk of offending.

Significant investment
Mr Callister, who told Tynwald member he had first-hand experience of the care system as a child and teenager, said the appointee would be able to “fight for the rights of all children” and “give them a strong voice”.

He said similar findings were raised by a Tynwald committee in October 2019 but “nothing has changed” in four years.

Current children’s champion Kerry Sharpe MLC said Manx Care and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) had to prioritise “their corporate children”.

“It is a travesty that the concept of corporate parenting is not in statute,” she said.

Corporate parenting refers to partnerships between agencies that are collectively responsible for the care for looked after children.

DHSC Minister Lawrie Hooper said the department had responded to the report’s findings with an action plan, which was already underway.

He said: “The fact that we don’t have legislation is not the core problem, the core problem is that we have not resourced and commissioned these services to be delivered in the right way.”

The “challenge” now was to “actually deliver on the improvements”, he added.

However, he called for members to be “realistic” in their expectations, as many improvements would “cost a considerable amount of money”, especially accommodation for care leavers, which would require “significant investment”.

Source: bbc.co.uk