The twin focus of the children's hearings system is that it regards all children as individuals, and also considers them in the context of their families and communities. This section of the manual will provide basic information about child development and some of the social and economic factors that may influence the lives of children growing up in Scotland today.
Children are referred to hearings as the result of problems and difficulties in their lives. The task of those involved in the children's hearings system is to seek the solutions that best meet each individual child's needs and is in the child's best interests. In making such decisions the welfare of the child is the paramount consideration except in exceptional circumstances when regard must be taken of public safety. In order do so it is necessary to estimate what the child is able to understand; how past experiences have affected the child; how the child sees the world and what the child needs.
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