The system of representation where children and young people are provided with both a social work guardian ad litem and a specialist solicitor is widely regarded as a model of excellence. However, until now, information about the system and its advantages has tended to neglect the views and experiences of the children concerned. Based on a unique research study, Out of Hearing investigates the representation service from the child?s perspective. Observations of representatives? meetings with their child clients and separate interviews with the children and their representatives paint a disturbing picture of the isolation of children at a time of immense stress and upheaval. Feedback from children about what they considered helpful or unhelpful in the actions of their representatives; their views about reading, or not seeing, court reports about themselves; and their feelings about going to court, or being excluded from its proceedings, convey powerful messages to the professionals and practitioners seeking to help them. Drawing on these experiences, the authors offer recommendations for practice and policy to enable children?s views to be heard more effectively. Providing fresh insight into the representation service, Out of Hearing is essential reading for solicitors, guardians ad litem, social workers, judges, magistrates, policy makers, and academics. It will also be of interest to children?s rights organisations, young people and charities.
"Whatever one may make of the conclusions of the report, what it undeniably does is paint a very graphic picture indeed of the impact of the process of care proceedings upon children. For this reason (if for no other) it should be read by all childcare law practitioners." Philip Thomson Head of Legal Services, Essex County Council
"The views and aspirations of the children really do shine through; their concerns and their agendas are set out clearly and illuminated vividly." Anna Faulkner Formerly Panel Manager, Inner and North London GALRO Panel