Thursday, 12 January 2012

Trouble is not my Middle Name - The Children's Panel Appeal.

Trouble is not my middle name.
It is not what I am.
I was not born for this.
Trouble is not a place
though I am in it deeper than the deepest wood
and I’d get out of it (who wouldn’t?) if I could.

Hope is what I do not have in hell –
not without good help, now. Could you
listen, listen hard and well
to what I cannot say except by what I do?

And when you say I do it for badness
this much is true:
I do it for badness done to me before
any badness that I do to you.

Hard to unfankle this.
But you can help me. Loosen
all these knots and really listen.
I cannot plainly tell you this, but, if you care,
then — beyond all harm and hurt –
real hope is there.

Liz Lochhead
January 2012

This poem was commissioned by The Children's Panel to recruit new members for the coming year. 

Children's Panels are such a distinctive part of the Scottish approach to dealing with children and young people who are in trouble or at risk. Children’s Panels are independent lay tribunals and a crucial part of the Children’s Hearings system, a relatively informal way of addressing all kinds of situations where a child or young person is in need of care and protection or if he/she has committed an offence.

All types of people living in Scotland can apply. They're looking for independent thinkers, good listeners and communicators with great negotiating skills and the ability to keep a level head in difficult situations. You could be what they're looking for if you're able to:
  • Commit the time
  • Listen to all sides of a story
  • Make difficult decisions
  • Process information
  • Empathise with children
Panel members are ordinary people like you who have chosen to do something extraordinary and make a positive contribution to children who are at risk in their community.

You don't need any formal qualifications. However, to apply you must be aged 18 or over and all applications are subject to a police check through the Disclosure Scotland system.

If you're not sure if it's for you, try answering our ten Do you fit the bill? questions.

To find out more, please visit the website here.


  1. Believe it or not, I've literally been visiting the Childrens Panel website to read through and consider after hearding a radio ad this morning!  Logged onto FB and here's your post.

    I dont know if I have the mettle for it, or wether my employer would be understanding about it.

  2. The poem is brilliant as is the work the "panel" do. We are "midway" through to becoming foster parents. This process though started last March. It's an extremely frustrating and inefficient process. My other half is ready to give up but we keep going. Every day we're waiting to help some poor wee souls. And I mean wee. Given the age of our youngest son, we'll be fostering children under 7 years of age. We are a family of 4 and with my husband's work commitments and my voluntary work, have been through umpteen security/ background checks. With those work commitments, I am already a stay at home mum and dog walker to our fit, healthy, child friendly pooches.

  3. Bless you for opening up your home and your heart!

    Fostering is something that I would love to do when the kids are older and when we have more space.

    I'll be following your journey and I hope that the paperwork gets sorted soon. Xx

  4. Spooky!

    I think you would although it will take a lot of emotional energy too!


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