MORE often than not, or more often than I would like, the response to saying I am a children's panel member is either, "Do you deal with all the bad kids?" or "You must hear some terrible things."

To the former, a silent scream followed by a patient explanation that the notion of a "bad kid" is a phantom, then a description of the work of the children's hearings system in supporting a process whereby young people who need help, for a vast array of reasons, are helped.

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To the latter, yes. Yes, absolutely. Things many people likely can't imagine and wouldn't want to, although "terrible" has a different meaning to different people and it is often surprising the issues that are the most affecting. To the latter, also: but I hear brilliant things as well.

There is not much finer feeling than saying farewell to a young person for the final time because they no longer need the support of the system. There is real joy in seeing a young person making their way to college or doing well in their Highers. There is real relief in seeing an obvious bond flourishing between a child and a carer.

If you are carrying out your role properly as a children's panel member then you will know that every child is unique, every child needs measures of care specific to them and every child is an electric parcel of potential who deserves a system straining to nurture and direct that energy towards a bright future.

So it is remarkable, it is stunning, it is infuriating that people still talk in terms of "the bad kids". That instead of seeing young people in need of and deserving of love because they have been let down by family circumstances and society, they place the blame on the children themselves.

I interviewed the founders, both care experienced themselves, of a charity supporting young people who have been in care into work. They were looking to expand into a new premises and found what they thought was the ideal location.

It was ideal until the letting agent phoned back to say the building's owner was unwilling to risk having "those people" in the office space as they might be hard to "control".

The stigma of being in care, a stigma that should have been eradicated decades ago, is still very real yet it is still gobsmacking when people are so blatantly and unashamedly discriminating.

Why does the stigma still exist? There is still stigma attached to mental health problems, to homelessness, to addiction. Many young people in care come from families that are under strain or have broken down because of these issues and so you have stigma spilling over on to the child, the child is the victim of stigma-by-proxy.

Then, there is this assumption that children are in care because they have done something wrong, a rather Victoriana hang up and so far removed from reality.

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So many people see children in the care system as the offspring of delinquents who are delinquents themselves. The sins of the father laid at the feet of the child.

There is also a desire for punishment rather than rehabilitation attached to people's feelings towards the criminal justice system. I wrote a piece last week about the former SNP MSP Natalie McGarry, namely how there should be a wider array of community disposals available to sheriffs when sentencing mothers of young children.

A view backed by academic research and one not particularly controversial. The responses were overwhelmingly of the nature of "She's done the crime so she should do the time." Almost no one who stopped to comment mentioned the situation from the view of the child, only focussing on punishing the adult.

Some stats: only four per cent of care experienced young people go on to university from school; more than a third of the prison population is care experienced; up to half of those who are homeless are care experienced; around half are diagnosed with mental health issues; those who have experienced the care system are 20 times more likely to be dead by the age of 25 compared to those who have not been in care.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been very vocal about her commitment to care experienced young people, having ordered a "root and branch" review of the care system. The Care Review is expected to report back next year with early signs being that the report will have a good number of suggestions for change.

Who Cares? Scotland, the advocacy charity for young people in care, has released a report asking that action is taken now, rather than the Scottish Government and local authorities waiting for the Care Review report.

Some of the things Who Cares? Scotland is asking for are both absolute common sense and simultaneously difficult to implement. So, children would like to be kept together with brothers and sisters. This isn't always possible when the family is large and there are no foster places that can cope; it isn't always for the best for siblings to be kept together when there is trauma or abuse involved.

There must be love involved in the care system but how do you legislate love? How does a staff member show love in a paid role? Do they withdraw that love when they change jobs?

These take some working out, but Who Cares? Scotland is right in asking for that working out to happen faster.

There are hundreds and hundreds of children and young people in this country not reaching their full potential because they do not feel loved. They feel like outsiders, they feel less worthy than children who live with parents, they feel there is no one in their life who is not paid to be there.

Care must not be an oxymoron - it must have one meaning and one meaning only: a family for children without. It is the responsibility of society to create that but it cannot be created while stigma against children in care exists.

That is the easiest change, the quickest and one that would be of great significance: for people to lay their prejudices aside.