The Scottish Children's Hearings Tribunals System: A Better Forum for Parents with Learning Disabilities?

Janice McGhee, Susan Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Parents with learning disabilities are over-represented in child care proceedings and are more likely to lose their children to state care. Evidence from Anglophone countries suggests that the adversarial forum of the court disadvantages these parents and limits their direct participation in the process. This exploratory study examines whether the Scottish children's hearings tribunal system could promote greater responsiveness to parental needs and support fuller direct participation in decisions about the welfare of their child. Views were not unanimous but on balance, potential for the parental voice to be heard was found and the support of lay advocates was key. The findings point to deficits in legal representation, underscoring the importance of structured time and skill in communicating with people with learning difficulties as a pre-requisite for the effectiveness of legal representation provisions for parents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-266
JournalJournal of Social Welfare and Family Law
Volume33
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • parents with learning disabilities
  • care proceedings
  • children's hearings
  • child protection

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