Participation in virtual children’s hearings during the Coronavirus 20 April 2020Children’s Hearings Scotland (CHS) and the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA) have issued a joint update today on virtual hearings, which focuses on children, young people and relevant persons being able to participate in their hearings remotely. Read full guidance here. Over the past weeks since the Coronavirus pandemic hit, virtual hearings have been taking place with only Panel Members and Reporters taking part. This was due to the speed of the response required to social distancing measures and to prevent children being left without the legal protection of an order. Since putting this in place, more than 750 Panel Members across Scotland have been trained on how to participate in and manage virtual hearings on Vscene. Now that we have been able to properly test the technology, ensuring it is safe, secure, and functional, more children, young people and relevant persons will be offered the opportunity to join their hearing virtually. Starting this week, we will extend the testing of participative virtual hearings, monitoring this closely, to try to get as many children, young people and relevant persons as possible able to attend. CHS and SCRA have been working together locally with Social Work teams and have reached out to Advocacy organisations to work together to understand how we can best support children and families to attend and contribute to their hearings, and we thank all the local teams for their help and support in moving towards the vision for inclusive and participative virtual hearings. To find out more about how children and families can be part of their virtual hearing, and to read the full guidance issued by CHS and SCRA, click here.