We have worked with the JCLA since the first meeting on Jersey, which Senator Stuart Syvret arranged for us, on April 30th 2008. Since then, these are the main things that we have done:
- Been at many meetings of the JCLA throughout 2008 and 2009, offering advice and support. Will and Jim have each visited Jersey at least a dozen times since that first meeting. These visits have been to a) attend and offer advice at meetings for Jersey care leavers or b) to go along to meetings between the JCLA Committee and members of the Jersey State to lobby for more help for abuse victims on Jersey.
- Organised, Chaired (Will) and funded the UK parliamentary meeting in June 2008 that was attended by several MPs, care leavers and JCLA members Anna Reaney, James Campbell and Dannie Jarman (40 people attended, including MPs and UK care leavers).
- Helped to fund and Chair (Will) the meeting in the Don Theatre in August 2008. This included funding for the three speakers from the abuse survivor movement in the UK that came to speak (70 people attended this meeting, including care leavers, members of the public, members of the government and the media).
- Chaired the meeting at The Royal Hotel, David Place (Jim) with Jersey Health and Social Services Minister Mike Pollard in February 2009 at which he met with care leavers and answered questions about future services and the response of the Jersey government to the abuse crisis (40 attended, mostly care leavers).
- Provided a Chair (Will) and speakers for the JCLA meeting on 12th September 2009 which was addressed by Moyra Hawthorn, a Scottish researcher on abuse in the care system, and two fellow care leavers from the UK who have experience of abuse in the care system; 1) Bob Balfour (Survivors West Yorkshire) and 2) Helen Holland (working with the Scottish government to help ensure justice for Scottish care system abuse survivors).
- Provided advice to members of the JCLA Executive Committee when they visited our Annual General Meetings in Manchester 2008 and 2009.
- Helped to raise funds for the JCLA (Jim) through running the Jersey Marathon in September 2008 along with Lewis Cooper.
All of the meetings that the CLA has been involved in with the Jersey Government – either with the Attorney General (one meeting) or the Department of Health and Social Services (three meetings) – have been at the request of the JCLA and alongside them. We have never met any ministers, civil servants or other members of the Jersey Government without the JCLA being present.
As a registered charity, the CLA has to account for all the money we spend. These accounts are audited and lodged with the Charity Commission. We knew in April 2008 that we needed extra money to be able to help care leavers on Jersey. For this reason, Will sent a funding bid around various contacts and managed to secure a donation of £6,050 for the CLA to support Jersey care leavers from a UK-based charitable funder. This money was used for: 1) funding travel by CLA members (Will, Jim, Mary Clear and Victoria Hull, our National Development Worker) to visit Jersey during 2008 to give advice and support, 2) to pay for the visit to the UK Parliament meeting in June 2008, 3) expenses related to the August 2008 meeting in the Don Theatre.
As that money ran out, we knew that both the JCLA and the CLA needed more funding to continue developing the JCLA on Jersey. We helped the JCLA Executive to write a funding bid to the Jersey government for a paid worker and an office. The Minister for Health and Social Services, Mike Pollard, made it clear that he was happy to give funding to the JCLA but wanted the CLA to continue to provide support and was willing to fund this as part of the bid. He believed that such support was needed to help the JCLA develop and survive. As a result, The JCLA was given money for a paid worker and an office and money for travel to allow two things: 1) CLA members and others to visit Jersey to advise and support the JCLA, and 2) JCLA members to visit the UK to gain advice and support from the CLA and other organisations and individuals.
We believe that we can continue to help the JCLA. However, it is up to the members of the Jersey Care Leavers Association to decide what type of relationship, if any, they wish to have with the CLA. 2010 should be an important year for Jersey care leavers. The Jersey government has already said that it will hold an inquiry into past abuse in the care system, with an independent chair. There have been similar abuse cases in the care system (in Scotland, Ireland, Canada and Australia for example). As in these cases, Jersey care leavers can continue to campaign for: a) the inquiry to begin soon, to be genuinely independent and to be properly run, b) a report telling everyone what happened on Jersey, c) proper services for abuse victims and survivors, d) an apology from the Jersey government, e) compensation (whether that is financial or in other forms).