Appeal for new Children’s Panel members

Children’s Hearings Scotland has issued the call for new Children’s Panel members needed to help vulnerable children and young people in Dumfries and Galloway.

The Children’s Panel, Scotland’s largest legal tribunal, improves outcomes for troubled or at risk children and young people who are in need of care or who have offended.

This year’s recruitment campaign is focused on highlighting what it means to be a panel member in a bid to attract the right candidates – and Children’s Hearings Scotland appealed to those with compassion, empathy and the ability to listen to come forward.

To equip each applicant for the role, there is an initial training programme, spread over two years. Once trained, panel members must commit to on-going training as well as preparation ahead of attending one to two hearings sessions per month.

The recruitment drive is being supported by panel members across Scotland who have spoken of their motivations for getting involved and how they fit panel responsibilities around existing work commitments.

There are currently 2,500 volunteer panel members across Scotland, however new recruits from a range of backgrounds are needed each year to ensure the system continues to offer the best possible support.

Boyd McAdam, National Convener and Chief Executive of Children’s Hearings Scotland, said: “Without the support and commitment of our volunteers, there wouldn’t be a hearings system in Scotland. The role is unique, and those who give their time are unswerving in their dedication to improve the lives of those children and young people who are vulnerable or troubled.

“This year, we want to be clear about the commitment involved in being a panel member in a bid to ensure people who apply understand what being a panel member involves. There will be an information evening on 7 September at Dumfries Icebowl on King Street for those who are interested in becoming a panel member.

Applicants need to be 18 or over. The deadline for applications is 25 September 2016. To apply online visit www.childrenspanelscotland.org.”