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7 September 2009

Stevenson Urges Banff & Buchan Residents to Give Children a Better Chance in Life

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has called for more volunteers from Banff & Buchan to join the Children’s Panel and help improve the outlook for children in their local communities. Children’s Panel volunteers can make a huge difference to children that have been neglected, abused or who are going through troubled times.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“Some of our young people find themselves in extremely difficult situations that can be understandably overwhelming. Those in particularly vulnerable situations need extra help to get their lives back on track and deal with the pressures they are under. The Children’s Panel, made up of volunteers in local communities, can be enormously important by ensuring the support that vulnerable children need is available.

“Helping young people through such difficult circumstances can be enormously rewarding and makes a real difference to people’s lives. There are no special qualifications needed and people from all backgrounds are encouraged to volunteer.

“If you are over 18 and can spare the time to help, please call 0845 601 2770, text Panel1 to 61611 or visit www.infoscotland.com/childrenspanel. This kind of volunteering can have a huge impact and I hope that there will be a high response rate in Banff & Buchan.”

Notes:

1) The Children's Panel is unique to Scotland and was established in 1971 to address the needs and behaviour of children and young people who face serious problems in their lives. These problems can include, for example, a child being abused, a child failing to attend school, the child's parents having difficulty looking after them or a child committing an offence.

2) Children are referred to a children's hearing where compulsory measures of supervision are thought to be needed. A children's hearing is a lay tribunal of three panel members. The child, parents/carers and relevant professionals all normally attend the hearing and take part in the discussion. The children's hearing considers and makes decisions on the measures required to best meet the needs of the child or young person before them. The "needs" of the child include addressing any "deeds".

3) During 2007 - 2008, 50,314 children were referred to the Children's Reporter. The majority of cases are referred on non-offence grounds for reasons of care and protection.

4) The Scottish Government is discussing proposals to strengthen and streamline Scotland's Children's Hearings system and improve the support given to vulnerable young people with stakeholders before legislation is introduced to the Scottish Parliament early next year.
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