Children’s Hearings in Scotland

BBC Newsnight on 3/8/2018 drew attention to concerns that the Child Protection Service in Norway is taking too many children into care.

The same concerns are found in Scotland.  The British media has publicised ‘separation anxiety’ experienced by children being separated from their parents at the American-Mexico border. The same British media is behind the curve in discussing the separation of children from their parents in the UK.

In short, social workers produce reports that Children’s Hearing Panels do not and cannot challenge, because they are not trained to challenge them and they have no evidence with which to contradict social workers’ reports.  These ‘reports’ are actually judgments by those who are not trained to be judges, with devastating effects upon the families that they destroy.  Their inability to produce balanced reports can be demonstrated in various ways, not least by their refusal to interview all parties involved whenever they document one of the many complaints they are adept at recording.

The forms given to social workers to fill in are biassed in favour of reporting negative events so that Children’s Hearing Panel read biassed reports full of complaints against the parent that the social worker has decided to focus on.

Such a nay-saying job must be depressing and stressful to conscientious social workers, so it is in everyone’s interests to improve the service.

The best way to improve it is to put resources into helping struggling parents instead of taking children away from them and paying through the nose for others to look after these children.

There is a petition before the Public Petitions Committee of the Scottish Parliament on the Operation and running of child protection services in Scotland.  It began in November 2017 and the statistics supplied to the Committee are alarming, both in terms of the shocking outcomes of children in care in Scotland and the amount of money being wasted in care that would be better spent on supporting parents.

  1. On statistics: these outcomes are not easily discovered, and Kezia Dugdale, MSP, former leader of the Scottish Labour Party, said that the lack of information recorded about young people in care “should make all of us angry”, describing the figures she had managed to obtain as “startling and deeply worrying”.  She was speaking at the launch of a report Falling Through the Cracks, highlighting that at least 84 young people died in the last 10 years, who had been in secure care at some stage.  The statistics in the above Petition claims that 20% of children who have been in care in Scotland will not see their 25th birthday, and that 25% of children who have been in care have police records by the age of 25.  Submissions are available on the Scottish Parliament website.
  2. On money: a similar concern was highlighted on HARDtalk only a few days ago on 2 Aug 2018 about Ireland’s forced adoptions showing that money is integral to the adoption business.  Paul Redmond claimed that Roman Catholic nuns in Ireland had been trading in adoptions, being paid to send children to the United States for adoption often against the mother’s wishes and sometimes without her knowledge.
  3. In England, the share price of some of the private adoption agencies continues to rise at a surprising rate.

Baroness Hale, the President of the UK Supreme Court, said recently that a legal case about family freedom brought by the Christian Institute is a ‘most important’ case.  The unanimous verdict of the UK Supreme Court in 2016 prevented the Scottish SNP Government from implementing its Named Person scheme, that gives more rights to a state-appointed Named Person than a child’s own parents.  This goes beyond the nanny state and it is a piece of communist ideology promoted by secularists who think that the state owns the nation’s children.

It is time for Christian common sense to be brought to bear upon the Children’s Hearing system in Scotland.


15 Feb 2019: BBC news reported a successful Appeal to the Supreme Court by a mother against her child being taken into care. The BBC said that a record number of children are in care in England and Wales and that “often the reasons for putting children in care is shrouded in secrecy”. In this case the Court of Appeal called it “the slimmest of evidence”. The mother was scathing of the system and said that they are “a law unto themselves” and that one cannot challenge them because they are shrouded in secrecy. The solution is to open up the family courts. The report is not available on the BBC website.

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