Children’s panel insight

Being a parent requires a great deal of common sense, patience, good humour, a stable home background and, above all, the ability to provide a helping hand when things go wrong!

However, the best laid plans within families can go self-destruct and help has to be sought from outside the family home in order that children growing up can achieve stability to become useful members of society.

At its recent meeting in the Palace Hotel, Peterhead Probus Club welcomed Bob Antczak and George Whyte, both members of the local Children’s Hearing Panel.

After a brief introduction, George gave a potted history of the children’s panel system, from the Act of 1908 establishing how children were to be treated differently within the legal system as to adults through to the Kilbrandon Report, 1961, which established that the welfare of a child was paramount importance and the child’s interests to be heard as well as taken into account.

The establishment of panels, the recruitment of members, the need for confidentiality, but the need for openness and transparency, were discussed before members were taken, step-by-step, through the details of meetings, from the immediate point of referral, how the meetings are conducted, the reports needed and how decisions on various options affecting a young person and family appearing before panel members.

Both speakers told of the frustrations and emotional turmoil they often felt after a series of panel meetings, but, both stressed that they felt Children’s Panels made a positive contribution in helping many youngsters and their families get back on track after a period of difficulty.

In his vote of thanks, James Brown thanked both Bob and George for very interesting contributions, their obvious commitment to seeing the system working well for the benefit of all those involved and giving freely of their time absolutely free!

The next meeting of Probus is to be held on Tuesday, May 12 in the Palace Hotel at 10am.

This is Probus annual general meeting as well as Jim Aitken being the guest speaker.