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The Children's Panel - life changing

What is the Children’s Hearings System?

The Children’s Hearings System helps children and young people in Scotland under the age of eighteen who may be experiencing some problems in their lives.

We try to use language that is not complicated to help you understand, but we also have a Jargon Buster which might help.

What is a children's hearing?

A children’s hearing (sometimes just called a hearing or a children’s panel) is a legal meeting that children and young people are sometimes asked to go to with their families or carers to hlep them sort out problems they may be having. Around 5,500 children and young people in Scotland are asked to go to a children’s hearing each year and this is called being ‘referred’ to a hearing. 

What is a referral?

A referral is when information about a young person is sent to the Children’s Reporter by the police, social work department or a school, because they think that the young person needs some help. The Children's Reporter will find out infromation about the young person and then decide if they need to go to a children's hearing so that some help can be put in place to support the young person.

Why do young people have to go children's hearings?

There are lots of different reasons why a young person might be referred (asked to go to a hearing) – these are called the ‘grounds of referral’. These are:

  • if someone is worried that they are not being cared for properly by their parents or carers
  • if an adult has hurt them or someone in their family in some way
  • if they have not been going to school
  • if they have been in trouble with the police
  • if they have been drinking alcohol or taking drugs
  • if their behaviour has been causing concern at home, school or in the community