More mediation and support services for parents should be at the
core of developing the children’s hearing system in Scotland.
Many of the 1,500 respondents to the first phase of the review of
the system, which investigates youth offending and child protection
cases, have said parents need to be more heavily involved in cases
than is currently the case.
However, some have warned ministers that problems are best resolved
through co-operation rather than through statutory intervention –
the second phase of the review is set to examine whether hearings
should be given more power over parents, such as through parenting
orders and antisocial behaviour orders.
Margaret McKay, chief executive of charity Children First, called
for more resources to be put into family support projects and for
closer attention to be paid to the voice of the child in the
“We believe family group conferencing addresses broadly these
points and we will be informing phase two of the review of the
considerable benefits that can be achieved by mainstreaming these
services,” she added.
David Turnbull, assistant director of public policy at children’s
charity NCH, said recruitment and retention of social workers also
needed to be considered because sometimes panel decisions did not
“transfer into practice” due to staff shortages.