The Scottish Executive is likely to retain core aspects of
Scotland’s unique children’s hearing system,
writes Lindsay Clark.
Although officials had earlier indicated that the system, which
tackles both young offenders and child protection, could be
abandoned and replaced with a punitive agency and separate care
However, this week Euan Robson, Scotland’s deputy first
minister for education and young people said the system would
retain its current focus, but with a greater emphasis on parental
responsibility and inclusion of families.
Robson said, “Parents and families have a crucial role to play
in the lives of children, helping to shape their future in a
variety of ways. It is therefore vital that we help them when they
are struggling with the challenges that go hand in hand with
bringing up children.”
The Hearings review was launched on April 22. Around 1,500 have
taken part and parenting emerged as a clear issue for further
action, Robson said. There was broad support for the system as a
The Children’s Hearings system was established 33 years ago and
deals with both offending behaviour and care and protection issues.
Its workload has changed significantly over the years: 60 per cent
of referrals are now based on care and protection, compared to 16
per cent in 1976. Around 38,000 children were referred to the
system last year.