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Campaign Launches to support The Highland’s Most Vulnerable Infants, Children and Young People

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Children’s Hearings Scotland (CHS) launches its’ autumn campaign to recruit new Panel Members to support infants, children and young people in their local communities.

Across Scotland, the organisation are looking to recruit volunteers from a diverse range of backgrounds aged 18 and over who can listen, show empathy, build trust and show compassion to support this group of young people. 

Panel Members are volunteers from local communities who take part in children’s hearings.

Their role is to listen and make legal decisions with and for infants, children and young people.

They are there to ensure that the young person is at the heart of every decision made – because every decision, no matter how big or small, has an impact on the life of the child or young person in the hearing.

All Panel Members, once selected, all take part in the CHS dedicated Learning Academy, in partnership with West Lothian College. 

In addition to the training the Panel Member will also gain a Professional Development Award for ‘Children’s Hearings in Scotland: Panel Members’, a verified award by the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

Children’s Hearings Scotland National Convener and Chief Executive, Elliot Jackson, says:  

“Scotland has an ambition to be the best place in the world to grow up, to make sure all children are loved, safe, respected and able to fulfil their full potential.

“For some children and families, the Children’s Hearings System has a significant role to play in this ambition.

“Children’s Hearings couldn’t operate without volunteer Panel Members making decisions with and for children and young people.

“To do this, we are committed to having children at the heart of everything we do – including recruitment.

“This campaign comes at an exciting time of growth and change at CHS and is totally centred on what young people who have experience of children’s hearings, are telling us they want to see in their Panel Members.

“Qualities like being caring, compassionate, open minded, empathetic and a good listener.

“If you want to make a difference in your local community, I encourage you to take the opportunity this year to apply to join our unique volunteer community.”

Clare Haughey MSP, Minister for Children and Young People, said:

“Panel Members play a critical role in ensuring children and young people’s views are heard by placing them at the heart of their hearing and, in the current challenging climate, it is vital now more than ever that we recruit new volunteers to continue this.

“This is a unique opportunity to join a diverse, empathetic, caring panel who will listen to children and young people.”

Children’s Hearings Scotland is the organisation responsible for recruiting, training and supporting volunteer Panel Members.

There are 2,500 volunteer Panel Members across Scotland who take part in children’s hearings and make decisions with and for infants, children and young people in their local community.

In 2020/21 16,248 children’s hearings were held across Scotland supporting 8,977 children and young people.

The majority of hearings during the pandemic have been held virtually which was a massive undertaking for our volunteers who managed to continue providing their support throughout.

There are a range of reasons that a child or young person may be referred to attend a children’s hearing; in the last year, approximately 85%¹ of all referrals were on care and protection grounds.

Applications for new Panel Members open on 01 September to midnight 6th October 2022 and you can apply by going online to:  https://chscotland.gov.uk/

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