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The Children's Panel is a specialist organisation designed to assist with the welfare of children. In times where families experience significant difficulty or upheaval, it may be necessary for an external organisation such as the Children's Panel to become involved to help resolve the situation as efficiently and effectively as possible.
When will a Children's Panel hearing be convened?
It is the role of the Children's Reporter to consider whether a full Panel hearing is necessary for any given case. They will consider all of the circumstances of the case, and whether they are sufficiently severe to warrant a hearing. The Children's Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011 sets out a list of the issues that will warrant referral to a full hearing at the Children's Panel. These are in circumstances where:
• A child is likely to suffer serious harm as a result of lack of parental care.
• Evidence shows that the child is suffering from sexual abuse or exposure to sexual activity.
• There is evidence of a close connection to a person who has carried out sexual offences or domestic abuse.
• There is any sort of indication that the child is involved in illegal acts or activities.
• Evidence indicates that the parents or carers of the child are unable to control them; or
• It can be shown that the child is not attending school.
What happens if a Children's Panel hearing is convened?
If a situation has been deemed significantly grave enough to warrant a full Children's Panel hearing, the matter is treated as being serious. A Children's Panel hearing is a legal meeting which may only be attended by those with the legal right to be involved in decisions affecting the child. At the hearing, the Panel will be made up of three members of the local community with specialist training in making decisions concerning child welfare and safety.
Decisions made at children's hearings can have a profound effect on family life. Children's hearing decisions are intended to safeguard the welfare of the child, and where possible, maintain family relationships. In some cases, this may mean removing the child from a harmful environment. If you are worried about a children's hearing, contact our experienced solicitors today.
If you need an experienced and understanding family lawyer to help you with matters related to children's hearings, Quinn Martin & Langan can help. Contact our team today. When you get in touch with us, we will take the time to listen to you and set out all of your options for moving forward.