A Children’s Hearing can decide to make a Compulsory Supervision Order. By law, children and young people (and the Local Authority) have to comply with the terms of this Order.
The Children’s Hearing may decide that an added condition of the Compulsory Supervision Order is an authorisation for the child or young person to be placed in secure accommodation.
Why would a Hearing make this decision?
To make this decision the Hearing must feel that the child meets what is known as the ‘criteria for secure accommodation’. This may be because they have gone missing (sometimes called ‘absconding’), that they are likely to go missing again unless they are kept in a secure place, there are serious concerns about their safety and welfare or there are concerns about the risk posed to themselves or others.
When a Children’s Hearing makes a Compulsory Supervision Order which includes an additional requirement authorising secure accommodation, they are making that decision because they believe that it is in the best interests of the child or young person.
If this happens, who can provide advice?
Your child is entitled to have a lawyer (a solicitor) to help them at the Hearing. You don’t need to pay for this. Your child may already have a lawyer, but if not it may be helpful to try and get one before the Hearing. You can contact the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) on 0131 226 7061 to get the name of a lawyer in your area. If your child doesn’t have a lawyer on the day of the Hearing, another lawyer will be asked to attend, but they might not have so much time to speak to each other before the Hearing. You may also be able to get legal aid to have a lawyer at the Hearing. You should speak to a lawyer or to the Scottish Legal Aid Board who will be able to advise you about this.
What happens next?
Your Local Authority has a duty to put the Compulsory Supervision Order into effect and may decide to place your child in the appropriate secure accommodation. After the Order has been made, the Social Worker who has been allocated by the Local Authority to your child, will speak to you and your child, and discuss a plan for the future.
The Social Worker will also consult with others, such as your child’s school, and prepare a care plan to help improve your child’s situation.
The Children’s Hearing expects that the Local Authority will provide the supervision that each child requires, and the plan helps to identify what needs to be done and what part everyone will play in the work with the child or young person.
Is it compulsory?
Yes, by law children and young people have to do what their Compulsory Supervision Order says, including the condition of being placed in secure accommodation. However, the Hearing only authorises this move. The Social Work department decides whether the child should move to a secure place. Before they make this decision they must speak to the child and their parents/carers to hear their views about being in secure accommodation. They must also speak to the place the Hearing has named for the child/young person to stay. The Social Work Department will write and tell you their decision and the reasons for this.
How long will it last?
A Compulsory Supervision Order with authorisation for the child to be placed in secure accommodation must be reviewed by a Children’s Hearing within three months. If the Compulsory Supervision Order authorising the use of secure accommodation is continued, then it too must be reviewed within three months. There is no limit on how many times it can be reviewed.
What if I don’t agree with the decision?
The child and their parents or carers have the right to appeal to the Sheriff (a judge) if they don’t agree with the decision of the Hearing (or the decision made by the Social Work Department to move the child to a secure place). Your Reporter can explain this to you but you must appeal in writing to the Sheriff at your local Sheriff Court within three weeks of the Hearing’s decision.
So, if you decide to appeal you should go and see a lawyer as soon as possible.