Information for young people
What is the Child, Youth and Community Tribunal?
The Child, Youth and Community Tribunal (CYCT) deals with children and young people under the age of eighteen who are having problems in their lives and may need legal steps to be taken to protect them. There are two main reasons why the CYCT will help a child or young person:
- Because they are in need of care and protection.
- Because they have got into trouble with the police or at school.
What is a hearing of the CYCT?
A hearing of the CYCT is a legal meeting that children and young people are sometimes asked to go to with their families or carers to help them sort out their problems. CYCT hearings are held in private.
What is a referral to the Children’s Convenor?
A referral is information received by the Children’s Convenor about a child or young person because they need help to sort out some of the problems in their life. Most of the information is received from the police, social work department or schools. However, anyone, including you, can contact the Children’s Convenor if they are worried about a child or young person.
A Convenor makes decisions about a young person to help them sort their problems out. For example, once a young person has been referred, it is the Convenor who decides whether or not that young person should attend a hearing.There are lots of different reasons why a young person might be referred. These are:
- If they have not been going to school,
- If they have been in trouble with the police,
- If they have been drinking alcohol or taking drugs,
- If their behaviour has been causing concern at home, school or in the community,
- If someone is worried that they are not being cared for properly by their parents or carers,
- If an adult has hurt them or someone in their family in some way.
What decisions can a Convenor make?
When a Convenor receives a referral, he or she will find out all they can about that young person and their circumstances, so that they can help them. They might speak to a social worker or a teacher or the people who look after the young person at home. They may also ask a social worker or a teacher at the young person’s school to write a report about them and their family to give them the information they need to make the right decision. Once the Convenor has all the information they need, they can decide what to do.
If the Convenor thinks that the young person is in definite need of help, they will ask them to come to a CYCT hearing. Not all young people who are referred to the Children’s Convenor are asked to attend a hearing. In many cases, there are other ways to help that young person for example, if they have a very supportive family who can help them with their problems.
If I have been referred to the Convenor, will there be a hearing?
Most of the young people who are referred to the Convenor are not referred to a hearing. If you have been referred to the Convenor, you will get a letter. Your parents or carers will also get a similar letter. It will explain why you have been referred to the Convenor. The Convenor might then ask for some more information about you from your school or from social work. Once they get this information they will decide if you need to go to a hearing. The Convenor will write to you again to let you know what they decide.
If I have been referred, what could happen to me?
There are a few different things that a Convenor can decide to do:
- They can decide to arrange a CYCT hearing.
- They may decide that you don’t need help from the CYCT because you are managing to sort your problems out with help from your family.
- Or they may decide that you need some help from somebody else like your social worker.
If you are asked to attend a hearing do you have to go?
Yes. The hearing is about helping you. It is important that you are there to let the people at the hearing know what you think and how you are feeling.
What information will you receive before your hearing?
Information will be posted to young people over the age of 12 before their hearing. This will include the reason for the hearing, what time it is, where they have to go and a copy of any reports that the Convenor received. A copy of this information will also be sent to the parents or carers and the CYCT Members.
Who can you talk to before your hearing?
The CYCT is a legal system, so it is important that you understand what is going on. If you have any questions before you attend a hearing, there are lots of different people you could talk to for example, the Convenor whose details will be on the letter you have received about the hearing, your social worker or your teacher.
If you just want to have a chat with someone, try talking to your parents or carers or other young people who are in a similar situation to you. You could also contact the Hub at
Fill out the ‘All About Me’ Form
If you have been asked to attend a CYCT hearing, you have the right to have your voice heard. You can do this by talking to the CYCT Members at the hearing and telling them how you feel. If you are shy, you might prefer to complete a form called ‘All About Me’, which you should complete before you go to the hearing. You can either complete it and send it back to the Children’s Convenor who wrote to you about your hearing, or you can bring it with you to the hearing. Your parents or carers can help you to fill out the form if you need some help. Just click on the picture to open the form.
What rights do young people have at a hearing?
- You can bring someone along to the hearing with you like a friend or a family member.
- You have the right to understand why you are at a hearing.
- You have the right to talk at the hearing.
- You have the right to talk to the CYCT members on your own, but anything you do say to the CYCT members on your own has to be told to the other people at the hearing afterwards (although not in the same words that you use).
- You can disagree with the decision made by the hearing and you can say so.
How long will the hearing last?
Most hearings should take less than an hour - that is about the same time as your lunch break at school. Sometimes hearings last longer than expected and you may have to wait a while for your hearing to start. If you miss some school, then that’s OK. You are allowed to miss school to go to a CYCT hearing.
Where will the hearing be held?
The hearings usually take place at a place called Briarwood, in St Martins. There is a waiting room and you can bring a game or a book to use when you are in the waiting room. The Convenor will take you and your parents or carers into the hearing room to meet the CYCT Members.
Who will be at the Hearing?
- The people who look after you (parents or carers), who are sometimes called ‘parties’
- Three people called CYCT members who will decide what to do next
- The Convenor who will record what has been decided,
- A social worker
- Sometimes a teacher from your school will also be there.
If you want to, you may bring someone along to help you, like a friend or a family member.
Remember - you are the most important person at a CYCT hearing. Sometimes the members can ask some people to leave the hearing if this would help you.
What is a CYCT member?
A CYCT member is a person from your local community who volunteers. CYCT members are normal people - they might be a plumber or a shop assistant. Lots of them have their own children and grandchildren. All CYCT members are given special training so that they can make decisions to help the children and young people who come to a hearing. There are three members at every hearing and one of them will lead the hearing - they are also known as the Chair Person.
What will happen at a hearing?
One of the CYCT members will introduce everyone in the room. The CYCT members will go on to have a discussion about you with everyone present. The CYCT members will already have read the reports about you and your family.
The CYCT members will listen to everyone, especially you. If you find it easier you can tell them what you think using the ‘All about me’ form. The CYCT members will consider all the information, and then make a decision about what is best to help you or to keep you safe. The members must give reasons for their decision. You will also be sent a copy of the decision and reasons for the decision in writing.
What if the grounds for referral are not accepted by the young person, or their parents or carers?
Where the legal reasons for the hearing (grounds for referral) are not accepted by the young person, their parents or carers, or the young person does not understand them, the CYCT members cannot make a final decision.
If this happens, the CYCT members have two options:
- They can decide not to take the referral any further and that would be the end of the hearing. You would not have to go to another hearing unless you were referred again.
- If they wanted to find out if the grounds for referral were true or not, the CYCT members could ask the Convenor to send the grounds for referral to court so that a Judge can decide if they are true or not. This is sometimes called sending the grounds to proof. If you are over 12 years old, you may have to go to court. The Convenor will be able to tell you more about this if this happens at the hearing but it is nothing to be worried about.
What decisions can be made about a young person at a hearing?
It is the three CYCT members and not the Convenor, who decide what action should be taken to help a young person at a hearing.
They can decide:
- That they don’t need to do anything about the grounds for referral and decide not to take it any further. This is called discharging the case. This might be because things have improved for the young person at home or school and the CYCT members don’t feel that the young person needs to come back to another Hearing.
- That more information is needed to help them make a decision about what is best for the young person and they can decide to adjourn the hearing and continue it at a later date.
- That compulsory measures of supervision are needed to help the young person, and can make a Care Requirement.
What if the young person does not agree with the decision of the hearing?
If the young person does not agree with the decision of the hearing they should tell someone immediately, either the person who looks after them, or their social worker or the Convenor. They will help the young person talk to someone about why they do not like the decision and help them decide if they would like to go to court to appeal the decision. If the young person wants to appeal the decision of the hearing, this must be done within 21 days of the date of the hearing.
A young person cannot appeal a decision simply because they disagree with the decision. There has to be a reason in law for the basis of any appeal. If you disagree with the decision of a hearing, you should speak to an advocate as soon as possible, because you may have the right to appeal.
What is a Care Requirement?
A Care Requirement is a legal document that means that the States of Guernsey is responsible for looking after and helping the young person. It can contain conditions that say where the young person must live and other conditions which must be followed. The States is responsible for making sure that what is stated in the Care Requirement is happening, and that the young person is getting the help that they need.