Volunteers needed to join Children’s Panel

North Lanarkshire panel members Lang Stewart from Hamilton, Tommy Costello from Shotts, Isobel Wilson from Motherwell and Pat Docherty from Kilsyth being presented with a gold certificate on behalf of the children of North Lanarkshire for their commitment and dedication.
North Lanarkshire panel members Lang Stewart from Hamilton, Tommy Costello from Shotts, Isobel Wilson from Motherwell and Pat Docherty from Kilsyth being presented with a gold certificate on behalf of the children of North Lanarkshire for their commitment and dedication.

North Lanarkshire Children’s Panel is appealing for volunteers to help improve the lives of vulnerable children and young people.

The children’s panel helps to give young people the chance of a better future and a say about what they want to happen to them.

Panel members play a vital role across Scotland with 36,200 hearings being held from 2013-2014 with 19,077 children being referred for help.

A child or young person’s circumstances, background reports and any wider family issues will be discussed to help inform panel members before important decisions are made in the best interests of each individual.

Mark Hamill, committee officer with North Lanarkshire Council, said: “Becoming a panel member is a hugely rewarding experience.

“You will have the opportunity to take part in important decisions which will improve the lives of children who may be in trouble, or who are in need of receiving care and protection.

“Children helped by the panel come from all different backgrounds so we need people from all areas of the community to support them.

“Decisions made by the panel can have a lasting effect on a young person’s life such as being taken into care or moved to a loving and stable foster home giving them the chance to develop in a safe environment.

“Another possible outcome of a hearing is for a young person to be given the opportunity of a work experience placement which can give them a sense of purpose or belonging.

“Each panel member will receive comprehensive training; with the only qualification needed being the ability to listen and a willingness to help young people improve their future.”

Despite 2,500 panel members in 32 authorities across Scotland and more than 1,300 applications to become a panel member made in 2014, there is still an urgent need for new applicants to put themselves forward.

All applicants must be aged 18 or over, for more information about the Children’s Panel or to register your interest in becoming a panel member, visit www.childrenspanelscotland.org.