The Children's Hearing system is a combined care and justice system for children and young people. A child or young person may be referred to a Children's Reporter as some aspect of their life is giving cause for concern to the referrer. Referrals are made from a variety of sources including Police, Social Services, Education and Health.
What does a Children's Reporter do?
A Children's Reporter will receive a referral and determine whether or not compulsory measures of intervention are required. If so, a Children's Hearing will be held.
What is a Hearing?
A Hearing is a type of meeting that takes placed to decide what needs to be done in the best interest of the child.
What happens at a Hearing?
The majority of Panel Hearings take place within the child's home area, with the child, the child's parents, their Social Worker, the Reporter to the Panel and 3 Panel members being present. An informal approach is promoted in most Hearing rooms, premises and furniture permitting and most meetings take pace around a table or coffee table. This is done to ensure that the child and the parents feel part of the proceedings.
Panel members and the family are given background reports up to 7 days in advance of the Hearing. These reports come from different agencies and have to be carefully considered when the Hearing takes place, with the contents being discussed informally and thoroughly with the child and those other persons present. The Panel members then have to make a decision, before the child and family leave, as to the most appropriate action to be taken, in the best interests of the child. Each Hearing can last anything up to an hour.
If a decision is taken concerning the child's future and either the child or his/her parents do not agree with that decision, then they have the right to appeal to the Sheriff about that decision.
Who decides if a child has to attend a Hearing?
The Reporter to the Children's Panel is primarily responsible for recommending that a child attend a Hearing. The majority of referrals to the Reporter come from the Police or the Social Work Service. However, anyone who has a concern about a child, e.g. teacher, health visitor, member of the public, may approach the Reporter. Any child, from new-born to 16 years of age, may be referred to the Reporter and may attend a Hearing.
Joint Children's Panel Advisory Committee
The Children's Panel Advisory Committee for Stirling also has responsibility for Clackmannanshire and Falkirk Children's Panels and is called the Joint Children's Panel Advisory Committee. The Administrative support for the JCPAC is provided by Falkirk Council's Law and Administration Services.
The annual recruitment drive for new Panel members usually takes place around August/September and advertisements are placed in local newspapers, libraries, community centres, radio and television, etc. Informal information evenings take place to allow potential Panel members a chance to find out if they would be suitable or not. Thereafter, selection interviews are held and new Panel members are finally appointed, after completion of training, by the Scottish Minister.List of current Children's panel members
Further information about Supervision requirements
Further information about Children's Panel recruitment