Child Welfare Report changes: consultation meeting

Child Welfare Reporters are instructed in some child contact court cases to seek the views of the child or to undertake wider enquiries and report to the court.

A new national system of regulation and oversight of this work will be introduced over the next few years, and the Scottish Government has issued a consultation on these changes.

Shared Parenting Scotland is holding a meeting for parents who have had child welfare reports in their court cases to explain various aspects of the proposed changes and gather views to be included in our response to this consultation.

The online meeting takes place on Wednesday 12th May – book a place here:

The meeting will also hear about how this process is conducted in other countries and our own views on how child welfare reporting could be improved in Scotland.  The new regulation processes are being introduced as part of the changes made by the Children (Scotland) Act 2020.

This law will also give child welfare reporters a role in informing children about court decisions that affect them, and they can be asked to investigate and report to the court on a person’s failure (or alleged failure) to obey a contact order.

Although Shared Parenting Scotland welcomes the setting of training standards and increased oversight of child welfare reporting, we consider that far more needs to be done to improve this process.  While we accept that properly trained family lawyers can obtain useful information for court, some cases will require more detailed knowledge of family dynamics, child or adult psychology, child attachment and other complex issues.

Given the increased emphasis on the views of children of all ages, we would expect that courts across Scotland should standardise their approach to obtaining children’s views.  As well as regulating the reporting in such cases, all sheriffs hearing such cases should receive appropriate training as is done in Germany.