24th June 2013
Scotland has had a unique system of care and justice for children and young people over the last forty years. Its underlying principle has stood the test of time: namely, that any child or young person who comes before the children’s panel, for whatever reason – be it offending behaviour or that they are in need of care and protection – is a child in need.
Throughout all those years, specially selected and trained lay people, with a passion and commitment to make things better for vulnerable children and young people have sat on children’s panels. In doing so, they have engaged in discussion with the child or young person before them, as well as their family or carers and professionals, to make a sound, reasoned decision in order to improve their individual situation. I was one of them myself for nine years. It was an experience that I will always remember and value for the knowledge and understanding it gave me about the situations in which our vulnerable children and young people are growing up in, and for the skills I gained which I have put to good use in my working life. It’s an experience that I would thoroughly recommend.She goes on to explain glowingly some of the recent changes, but not all. An article in the Scottish Review points out that journalists, although restricted in what they could report, used to have a right to attend children`s hearings; Worryingly that is now no longer the case.
See `Suffer the little children in Scotland, for they suffer in silence.` Scottish Review