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Children’s Panel looks for new members to play their part in Children’s Hearings
Aberdeen Children's Panel is on the look-out for new members.
The recruitment drive is part of a national campaign to sign up over-18s from all walks of life to play a key role in Scotland's unique Children's Hearings system.
Members give their time and commitment voluntarily to train and serve on Children's Hearings in the local authority area in which they either live or work.
No special qualifications are required but common sense, an ability to listen and a commitment to confidentiality are essential. People who care for the welfare of children and young people and are capable of taking an objective attitude towards children in trouble are the ideal candidates. Volunteers should be able to communicate with young people and understand their feelings. An ability to grasp the main issues from written reports is also useful.
Initial training is usually held between January and May and involves about 40 hours of sessions, mainly at weekends. Members are then expected to attend one Hearing per month, which take place in central Aberdeen during mornings and afternoons. The rota is drawn up two months in advance following consultation with panel members and every effort is made to accommodate their work and other commitments.
The Children's Panel is the cornerstone of the welfare-based system of justice for both young offenders and children who have been offended against. The Panel considers a child's case as a whole, addressing his or her needs and deeds together, and will consider the views of children, families, social workers, teachers and other specialists.
The Panel can discharge the case if the members of the Hearing agree that the child is not in need of compulsory supervision, continue the Hearing for further information such as a social work or school report if a decision cannot be made, or make a supervision requirement lasting up to one year if the Hearing agrees that compulsory supervision is needed.
Members should live or work within a 15-mile radius of Aberdeen, underlining the Scottish tradition of care and justice at local level. Initial appointments are normally for three years and may be renewed. Members are not paid for their service but can claim loss of earnings, and travel and subsistence expenses. Levels are laid down by Children's Hearings Scotland and can include reasonable reimbursement of child care costs.
Area Convener Fiona Smith said: "Some children are vulnerable and need support. By volunteering for the Children's Panel you can help neglected, abused and troubled children to get their lives back on track.
"All we ask is that you can listen, understand and make a decision that will improve a child's life. All you need to do is give your time. Being a panel member is hugely rewarding, but cases can often be complex and emotionally challenging getting involved won't just change a child's life, it'll change yours too."
Local information meetings have been organised at the Town House, Broad Street, Aberdeen, on:
Tuesday 17 September
Wednesday 25 September
Thursday 03 October
Monday 14 October
Please call Mark Masson, tel (01224) 522989, email firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information or to confirm your attendance.