New Faces of CYCJ: Erin Hastings

The CYCJ Team has grown and evolved in 2023, with new funding allowing us to do more and extend our reach. In this interview series we sit down with new team members to find out more about who they are, and the nature of the work they’ll be doing for CYCJ. Next to face the music is Participation Adviser Erin Hastings!

Can you tell us a bit about your background and interests, and how they’ve led you to CYCJ at this point in your career?

Working with children and young people is something that I have been set on for as long as I can remember. I studied Social Work at uni but decided that I didn’t want to work as a social worker straight away and instead wanted to support people with lived experience to influence the systems around them and make change.

My first job after graduating was as part of the 1000 Voices team, who helped Care Experienced people across Scotland to take part in the Independent Care Review. During this time, I had the opportunity to meet lots of incredible children and young people with experience of the care and justice systems and hear what they thought was good and what could be better about care.

I then spent a few years in Aotearoa, New Zealand, as an advocate for Care Experienced children and young people and was able to see different approaches to care and justice which was very interesting. Now that I’ve joined CYCJ, I’m excited to see how I can continue to support children and young people to be listened to and to affect change!

What’s the nature of the work that you’re doing with CYCJ?

I’m still learning about my role, but I know I will be focusing on ensuring children, young people and their families are able to meaningfully participate in the evaluation of the Scottish Child Interview Model (SCIM). I will also be involved in other participation work alongside Julia and Iain!

For those that don’t know, what is the Scottish Child Interview Model, and how do you think it could help to reduce trauma and uphold the rights of vulnerable children and young people if it’s adopted more widely?

The Scottish Child Interview Model is a new approach to Joint Investigative Interviewing (JII) which is trauma informed and has a greater focus on the needs of the child in the interview. I think the model has the potential to minimise the risk of causing further trauma by encouraging individualised planning and using more child-friendly interview techniques. Children and young people who have experienced this new type of interview are the best people to tell us if it’s actually living up to it’s intentions, so I’m very interested to hear what they have to say.

What are some of the strategic challenges that you foresee in terms of conducting the SCIM evaluation?

I think one of the biggest challenges with any evaluation is making sure you hear from enough people and from as wide a range of experiences as possible. Given that the interviews will have been very difficult for some children and young people, we want to ensure they have the opportunity to get involved but in no way feel pressured to do so.

I know that you’re a big football fan. How would you rate the matchday experience at Fir Park, and what’s your prediction for where Motherwell will finish in the SPL this season?

I’d have to be honest and say I have experienced many a grey and miserable day at Fir Park… but there’s nothing better than the sound of thousands of ‘Well fans belting out ‘Twist and Shout’ on the good days!

It’s early yet but I think a top 6 finish is well within our grasp this season!

Having spent a decent chunk of time in New Zealand in the last few years, how would you say it compares to being back in Scotland?

In New Zealand they say, ‘you can’t beat Wellington on a good day’, and now that we’re heading into the dark, cold mornings here, I’m definitely missing the blue skies of Wellington. Despite having very similar scenery in places, I do think New Zealand slightly tops Scotland in that category- the Abel Tasman National Park must be one of the most beautiful places on earth! But for me, the distance from family and friends back in Scotland made coming home a no-brainer.

What’s the best way for people to contact you if they want to find out more?

You can contact me via email at:

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Children's and Young People's Centre for Justice
University of Strathclyde
Lord Hope Building, Level 6
141 St. James Road Glasgow G4 0LT

(0141) 444 8622

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