Beth-Anne Logan writes about her commitment to Keeping The Promise…
Hi, my name is Beth-Anne Logan and I’m a board member at Children’s Hearings Scotland (CHS). I am also one of the representatives from CHS on the new “Hearings System Working Group”.
I, alongside my colleague Carol Wassell, will be working really hard over the coming weeks and months with partners and colleagues at Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA), The Promise and the Scottish Government.
The Hearings System Working Group has been set up to redesign the current children’s hearing system. The “Care system” has changed a lot over time but arguably, not a lot has changed since Lord Kilbrandon established the children’s hearings system about 50 years ago! So, change is well overdue. This change is so desperately needed. The Independent Care Review listened to over five and half thousand voices. Those voices told us that hearings can be a scary place with a significant power imbalance. Children and young people reported feeling scared, stigmatised and found the process of a hearing at times can be significantly traumatising.
At CHS, we’ve been working incredibly hard both before and after the publication of The Promise to ensure we can make the spaces more comfortable and child friendly, for example giving those attending hearings the opportunity to see Panel Members with the introduction of Panel Member profiles. In 2021, we have also had every single Area Support Team include people with lived experience of the hearings system in the interview process of appointing new Panel Members
However, we know that these things on their own are not good enough and more can and should be done.
That’s why I am so excited at the prospect of this new working group. It provides a great opportunity to really delve into the gnarly issues associated with the children’s hearings system. This working group is incredibly important because change has been demanded from the care community, and we cannot ignore their call to arms. We can and must do more for Scotland’s children and their families.
My message to the care community is this: I see you; I hear you and I will do my utmost to ensure that you are always at the heart of any decision made. We’ve not had it easy in life, but the time for change is now and I just want to thank you for putting your trust in me to help deliver a fairer more just hearings system.
My message to Scotland is this: We can and must do more for our country’s children, young people and their families. There is no more time for questions or consultation. Care experienced people have been doing this for decades. Now is the time for action. From all of us, because it takes a village to raise a child, and Scotland, you are that village!
I am really looking forward to working closely with The Promise team to help reach the ambition that Scotland becomes the best place to grow up. This is more than just a slogan, or catchy line. This will become a reality if we all do our part. It is Scotland’s responsibility to make sure we do everything we can to protect, promote and uphold the rights of our children and their families.
Some of the key changes I wish to see is more children and young people attending their hearings and utilising it as a platform for their voice to be heard and their views given real weight. I’d also like to see a less stigmatising process for children, young people and their families, I’d like to see Panel Members who are confident in their ability to make decisions based on the child or young persons welfare. And ultimately, I want you to be at the heart of any formal process.
There are lots of opportunities to contribute to the redesign of the children’s hearings system and I promise to make it my mission that this redesign includes your voice, because after all, you are the most important person in the room!