Skip to main content

CHS celebrates Care Day 2024

On Care Day 2024, Children’s Hearings Scotland reiterates its commitment to protecting the rights of all care experienced people.

We know that care experienced children and young people may face barriers to participating in the Children’s Hearings System. We are doing many things to address this, which you can read about below.

We keep siblings connected

Sibling relationships are among the most important relationships in a child’s life. They are especially important for children that don’t live with their brothers and sisters. The hearings system must do everything possible to ensure that brothers and sisters can maintain relationships when they are living apart.

We know that families are made up in a number of different ways, and it is not always whether children have the same biological parents that determines whether they are brothers and sisters. It’s about the relationship between children and who matters most to them.

The Children (Scotland) Act 2020 introduced new rights for siblings separated in care. This in turn introduced responsibilities for Panel Members. The Act ensures that brothers and sisters can take part in decisions at hearings that involve them and their siblings.

To ensure consistency, CHS has delivered training to Panel Members across Scotland on how to make sure brothers and sisters can stay connected. This means hearings request that all local authorities to do everything possible to ensure that brothers and sisters maintain contact when they don’t live together.

We are Language Leaders

Care experienced children and young people tell us that words they read and hear in hearings can be stigmatising. They may not be words that they or their peers may use. Those include terms like 'LAC' or 'looked after child'. Or 'unit', 'placement' and 'respite'.

CHS and our partner organisation the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration (SCRA) are part of Language Leaders. This project is led by Our Hearings, Our Voice, an independent board led by young people with lived experience of hearings.

The Language Leaders project shines a spotlight on the language used in the care system. Young people can recommend words to 'bin' from hearings. Those could be words which make children feel upset or stigmatised, or jargon which may not make sense. By simplifying language in the hearing room, we can break down barriers and make sure that every child feels listened to.

In 2024, every Panel Member will get a language resource kit shaped by the feedback from Language Leaders. This asks our Panel Community to think about how we would feel hearing certain words or phrases used to describe themselves.

We promote lifelong learning

The CHS Learning Academy commits to ensuring the child's voice is at the heart of every hearing. Panel Members consider children's insights whether they attend hearings or express views through other means. 

Care experienced young people tell us it is important that every decision made by a hearing should comprehensively reflect their views and desires. Every hearing should include full notes of key considerations influencing decisions. We promote the importance of explaining those decisions and reasons in a way that the young person can understand.

In training, we urge Panel Members to help the active participation of the young person in their hearing, using clear and accessible language that focuses on strengths rather than dwelling on negatives. When the child is not able to actively take part, other avenues for obtaining their views are sought.

What is Care Day?

Every third Friday in February, organisations including CHS celebrate Care Day. Care Day is an international event connecting and advocating for the rights of all care experienced people.

You can learn more about advocacy for care experienced people at Who Cares? Scotland. You can also access support for brothers and sisters with care experience via Stand Up for Siblings.