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Keep children at heart of hearings system 27/04/2017 Improvements are needed to ensure that children remain at the heart of the system designed to protect them, say MSPs

Keep children at heart of hearings system

Improvements are needed to ensure that children remain at the heart of the system designed to protect them, says the Scottish Parliament's Education and Skills Committee.

The Children’s Hearing system was first introduced in Scotland in 1971 to safeguard the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable children and young people. A number of changes to the system have taken place since then most recently via the Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011.

In a newly published report, the Committee welcomes these improvements, but warns there is now a danger that some of the current procedures and the way that some hearings run in practice are making it more difficult for children and young people to be heard.

It calls for a number of changes to protect this vital system. These include bringing into force the right for all children to have an advocate and ensuring the rules around the number of people attending hearings are more strictly enforced. The Committee also calls for more multi-agency training so that all present (e.g. social workers, teachers, solicitors etc.) understand each other’s role.

A copy of the Committee’s report can be found here.

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