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CHS welcomes the Children Care and Justice Bill

On Wednesday 14 December, the Scottish Government published the Children (Care and Justice) (Scotland) Bill, which aims to improve experiences and outcomes for children and young people by diverting them away from the criminal courts. If passed by Parliament, the Bill will mean that anyone under the age of 18 can be referred to the children’s hearings system. 

This Bill is an endorsement of the children’s hearing system and a recognition that the principles the system was built on should be extended to all young people. 

Our system recognises that when children and young people come into conflict with the law and authorities, it is often a reaction to the circumstances and experiences around them – circumstances that are created by adults. Extending the children’s hearings system will ensure that all young people are treated with trauma-informed and age-appropriate support.

CHS was involved in the consultation process and influenced the content of this Bill, and we welcome its introduction and potential to help Scotland deliver on its promise to the most vulnerable children and young people in society.  Should the Bill pass, CHS panel members will receive comprehensive specialist training, resources and support to enable them to make high quality decisions in the best interests of all children and young people.

You can read more about the Bill and next steps here: Safeguarding children in the justice system - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)