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Children's hearings

The Children's Hearings System is Scotland's system of care and justice for children and young people.  A children's hearing is a legal meeting set up because concerns have been raised about a child or young person's wellbeing or care. 

The Scottish Children's Reporter Administration arranges hearings. You can also access information about the Children's Hearings System from Children's Hearings Scotland (CHS).

Panel members

At every hearing there are three volunteers called panel members. Their role is to:

  • understand the child or young person's circumstances
  • listen to their views
  • make legal decisions to ensure they are protected and cared for. 

Panel members come from all walks of life and are recruited from the local community. They undertake extensive training enabling them to make important decisions.

Our Area Support Team Clerk's Office supports the Children's Panel Volunteers and the Area Support Team, including the recruitment of volunteers. The CHS website has information on becoming a children’s panel member.


The Children's Reporter is the first contact a child or young person and their family will have with the Children's Hearings System.

They decide whether a child or young person should come to a hearing because they:

  • are at risk
  • have been caught offending
  • may be subject to abuse
  • are taking drugs or alcohol
  • are not attending school

If you are to attend a children's hearing, you will get a letter from the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration with information about when and where it will take place.

Hearings generally last around an hour. They will be longer if a case is complex, or there are a number of children from the same family.

They may be in person or virtually depending on the needs and wishes of the child, or young person, and their family.

Hearings are normally held at Sovereign House, Academy Road, Irvine KA12 8RL.

Most take place during working hours.

Hearings on the Isle of Arran and Kilmarnock take place as and when required.

Contact Ayrshire Area Support Team

Email the Ayrshire Area Support Team or telephone on 01294 324162.


Clerk's Office, Ayrshire Area Support Team, Democratic Services, North Ayrshire Council, Cunninghame House, Irvine, KA12 8EE