Post will drive improvements for children.
A new chair has been appointed to a key programme which will deliver Bairns’ Hoose services to Scottish children.
Val de Souza will chair the programme’s national governance group to drive forward delivery of a model which will improve the way children are dealt with in the justice system and provide wrap around support and recovery.
The professional social worker – who has worked for more than 30 years in the social justice sector – joins following the recent publication of a new project plan and revised vision paper by the Scottish Government to further the goal of ensuring access to Bairns’ Hoose for every child victim or witness who needs it by 2025.
Bairns’ Hoose services will be specifically designed to reduce the number of times children who have experienced trauma have to recount their experiences to different professionals.
Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Veterans Keith Brown said:
“I warmly welcome Val de Souza as chair of the National Bairns’ Hoose Governance Group. Val brings enormous experience to the role and her appointment is a hugely important step to drive the project forward and deliver access to Bairns’ Hoose for all eligible children by 2025.
“This will provide Scotland with a child-centred approach to delivering justice, care and recovery for children who have experienced trauma. A similar collaborative, trauma informed and person centred approach will be adopted across the wider justice, health and children’s services sectors, as set out in our recently published vision strategy.”
Ms de Souza said:
“I’m both delighted and honoured to have been offered the position of Chair for Scotland's National Bairns’ Hoose Governance Group.
“It will be a privilege to progress the excellent work so far developed and driven by a wide range of, experienced and ambitious professionals, whose commitment to improve the experiences of children and young people I absolutely share.
“My first task will be to find a way to harness the energy and ambition evident in the project.
“My clear aim now is to work towards the 2025 commitment, underpinning the project’s vital work with compassion, warmth and understanding. My door is always open and I look forward to moving forward with this key priority.”
Ms de Souza has significant experience and interest in working across organisational and cultural boundaries. She has held a number of senior leadership roles in health, social care and social work in Scotland, working across justice, children and adults services, in both the statutory and voluntary sectors. She spent the last five years as Chief Officer for South Lanarkshire’s Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP), and Director of Social Services, working across NHS Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire Council.
Prior to this she was acting Chief Officer for Stirling and Clackmannanshire HSCP and the Chief Social Work Officer for these two local authorities, which included responsibility for two national prisons, HM Prison Glenochil and HMP YOI Cornton Vale.
She was instrumental in introducing and implementing the Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 and continues to have a keen interest in all aspects of public protection and social justice. With over 30 years’ experience of strategic and operational management she is committed to promoting interagency collaboration and multidisciplinary working.
She is a graduate of University College Dublin, and holds postgraduate qualifications from the Universities of Edinburgh and Robert Gordon Business School. She has recently been appointed to the Board of NHS Lothian as a Non-Executive Director. She is also a professional adviser for Positive Help, an Edinburgh based charity supporting children and families affected by HIV and Hepatitis C.
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