The Child, Youth and Community Tribunal is often shortened to or known as the CYCT.
What is a CYCT hearing?
A hearing is a legal meeting arranged to make decisions about children and young people who are having problems in their lives and who may need legal steps to be taken to help or protect them.
Children and young people can be asked to go to a hearing for lots of different reasons. For example:
- If they have not been attending school;
- If they have been in trouble with the police;
- If their behaviour is violent or destructive;
- If they have been misusing drugs or alcohol;
- If they have been abused or neglected.
What information will I receive before the hearing?
Generally speaking, you will receive the same information and reports as the CYCT members. This may include a report from your child’s school or social worker.
Who will be at the hearing?
CYCT hearings are held in private. Only those persons who have a right to be there or who have been asked will be there. Your Convenor will tell you who has been asked to attend the hearing. In most cases this will be:
- your child, unless the Convenor has told you that he/she do not have to go;
- the people who look after your child;
- three CYCT members who will make the decision;
- the Convenor who will record what has been decided;
- a social worker; and
- the Convenor may also ask other people – for example a teacher or youth justice worker.
If you want to, you may bring someone along to help and support you at the hearing.
Do I have to go?
Yes, unless the Convenor has told you that you do not have to go. The Convenor’s Meeting and the CYCT hearing are about your child. It is important that you are there to let the people at the hearing know what you think.
What will happen at the hearing?
When the reasons have been accepted at a Convenor’s Meeting, or have been proved to be correct at court, a hearing will be arranged. At the hearing the CYCT members will have a discussion with everyone present about the reasons for the hearing. The CYCT members will have read the information and reports about your child and your family.
The CYCT members will listen to everyone and will consider all of the information. The hearing will then make a decision. The CYCT members must give reasons for their decision at the hearing. You will be sent a copy of the decision and reasons for the decision in writing after the hearing.
What decisions can be made at a hearing?
- The hearing can decide that a care requirement is not required and they may discharge the case.
- The CYCT members can decide that they need more information to help them make a decision about what is best for your child and they can continue the hearing until a later date.
- The hearing can decide that legal measures are needed to help your child, and can make a care requirement.
What is a care requirement?
A care requirement is the legal order that can be made at a CYCT hearing. It can contain conditions stating where your child is to live and other conditions which the CYCT considers to be necessary. A care requirement should last only as long as is necessary. It must be reviewed by a hearing at least once a year when it can be continued, varied or stopped.
What if I am not happy with the decision of the hearing?
If you do not agree with the decision of the hearing you can appeal the decision, but you should consider taking legal advice before deciding whether to appeal. Legal Aid may be available.