Work is underway to better equip solicitors to support children and families at Children’s Hearings.

The CHIP has set up a short term working group to identify the essential areas of knowledge that solicitors require in order to engage constructively in the Children’s Hearings System.

Membership includes a mix of representatives drawn from the Scottish Child Law Centre, Scottish Legal Aid Board, CELCIS, private practice, Children’s Hearings Scotland, the Law Society, the Adoption and Fostering Alliance, Clan Childlaw, SCRA and social work.

The group, which met for the first time in April, will also explore and shape the structure, content and delivery of this learning.

Elaine Adams, the CHIP’s Learning and Development lead, explained: “The group decided that modules should link to the five competencies as set down in the SLAB Code of Practice in relation to Children’s Legal Assistance Cases and overall seven initial areas were identified for development.”

These are:

  1. Legislation
  2. Legal Aid
  3. Ethos
  4. Roles and responsibilities
  5. Representation of children and families
  6. Child development
  7. Communicating with children

The group is now looking at content for the modules. Elaine added: “It was agreed that there was already a good deal of material across agencies that could be utilised for this training. Individual members are currently identifying available materials so there can be a focus on content and structure by the whole group at the next meeting.”

If you have any questions about the work of the group, please contact elaine.adams@strath.ac.uk.

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