A Children’s Panel member from Fife has been helping to launch the search for new panel members across the Kingdom.
Claire Smith, 31, has spoken of how rewarding the unique volunteering role can be, as someone who has been a panel member for three years.
The national Children’s Panel, Scotland’s largest lay tribunal, improves outcomes for vulnerable children and young people who are in need of care and protection or who have offended.
Figures highlight that, on average, over the last three years, a quarter of the total applications received (26 per cent) were from males – a figure Children’s Hearings Scotland is keen to increase in 2017 to ensure each panel continues to have the right representation.
Information events will be held on August 24 and September 20 at Fife House, Glenrothes at 7pm for those who want to meet existing panel members and find out more about the role.
Claire, from Thornton, applied to become a panel member after hearing a radio advert.
She said: “I have always wanted to do some kind of voluntary work to support children in the local area. The Children’s Panel gives me the opportunity to do something worthwhile that also has a degree of flexibility to fit around my family life.
“Being a panel member really opens your eyes to what’s happening to children and families across the country. When you see a positive change in a child’s life thanks to the decision we’ve made it is so rewarding.
“I would tell anyone who was considering applying to go for it. It can be time consuming and it is a big commitment but if you are willing to put in the effort it is worth it. The training and support provided is fantastic and the satisfaction you get from knowing you have helped a child who may not have had the best start in life makes the role worthwhile.”
Applicants need to be 18 or over. Deadline for applications is September 26. Visit www.childrenspanelscotland.org.