Scotland’s Children’s Panels launch recruitment drive

Launch of children's panel recruitment drive

A drive has been launched to sign up 500 volunteers as Children’s Panel members.

Recruiters are particularly looking for more applications from younger people to help support some of Scotland’s most vulnerable children.

They say they may be better able to relate to those they’re trying to help.

The Children’s Panel system aims to help vulnerable youngsters who get into trouble, often as a result of having suffered neglect or abuse.

It currently has around 2,500 panel members across Scotland.

‘Different backgrounds’

Boyd McAdam, national convenor and chief executive officer of Children’s Hearings Scotland, said they were looking to “top up their numbers”.

“We rely on volunteers from the community to take decisions about what needs to be done for our vulnerable children,” he said.

Mr McAdam said they wanted to ensure a gender balance in hearings and that different backgrounds were represented on the panels.

He added: “I think the challenge for us is always to bring in younger people.

“It’s what young people say they would like to see – panel members of an age closer to themselves.”

‘Very rewarding’

All volunteers receive extensive training to help them in their role.

Mr McAdam said: “We are looking for someone who has empathy with children and young people who has an ability to listen and obviously to read the paper work and take decisions.”

One existing volunteer, Drew McCulloch, said his role on the Children’s Panel was “very, very hard work but very, very rewarding”.

The supermarket worker from Darvel in Ayrshire, said: “Basically, I have worked in and around Kilmarnock all my life so it’s just something I can give back to the local community that I have worked and served in for 30 years.”

[Source:- BBC]