Monday, 1 July 2013

A Focus on Wellbeing

For its part the Scottish Government is focusing its efforts on children`s wellbeing which is defined as safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible, and included.  When they break these categories down into sub-components, this covers just about everything in a child`s life.  Recently the Scottish Government celebrated the endorsement of the wellbeing indicators by those who were consulted on the Children and Young People Bill. But really what is there to celebrate? Since we are no longer dealing with the risk of significant harm, how are concerns about a child in terms of any of these wellbeing indicators supposed to trigger an early intervention? It`s almost as if the Sate is to become the parent fussing over every little detail in a child`s life. 

It stands to reason that, if that is their level of commitment, then practitioners are going to have to do a massive amount of work in order to maintain a child`s wellbeing at an optimum level and most of it will be unnecessary because children have their ups and downs as part of ordinary life. Theoretically every `down` could trigger an investigation. Yet presently there are children in great need who cannot get the services they require because they do not exist. For instance, an autistic child will need a lifetime of support but often a parent has to carry on without respite for years. Something does not add up.

Isn`t it more likely that the wellbeing indicators, the holistic approach, is going to be the pretext which allows a sweeping data gathering exercise to take place on every child and his family?  All ready parents are being secretly judged on their views about race and diversity while in a Lanarkshire hospital with their newborn babies.

Ridiculous as this might be, this Big Brother exercise will lead to serious consequences. In the first place because `concerns about wellbeing` are so imprecise it will be left to the vagaries of the named person to interpret the wellbeing indicators and it can be imagined that many crazy referrals to social services will result, of which there are many examples all ready all over the internet. On the other hand, those cases where a child is seriously at risk of harm might more easily be missed in the flood of data which is all ready swamping the system and being lost in dustbins even before the Bill becomes law.

The Scottish Government Response To ‘A Scotland for Children: A Consultation on a Children and Young People Bill'

A Focus on Wellbeing

The Scottish Government believes it is essential that services take a holistic approach to a child's wellbeing. The consultation proposed making clear this approach by providing a definition of wellbeing that should underpin all Bill provisions.  [And the definition is so wide it is unworkable.]

What You Said

Emerging from the consultation and engagement activity was an overwhelming sense of support for the proposal that the Bill would define wellbeing and that this definition would underpin all relevant Bill provisions. 84% of consultation respondents agreed with the definition of wellbeing as set out through the consultation.
[We are not talking about 84% of the population, but 84% of the respondents to the consultation - those charities and local authorities who were AWARE of the consultation whilst the public at large remained ignorant. That`s a fix]

The most common reasons for this agreement were that the definition was holistic and captured a wide range of factors, and that the SHANARRI Wellbeing Indicators were already being used by practitioners, were well recognised, provided a common language and understanding and promoted consistency in approach. 90% of respondents agreed that a wider understanding of a child or young person's wellbeing should underpin our proposals, mainly because it avoided a narrow consideration of children's needs by a single service, and it helped services/agencies to realise their impact on children and their responsibilities to them. [Capturing a wide range of factors. That`s our private data.]
Everywhere you look the State is getting closer to children; it`s just that Scotland is at a more advanced stage.

Mail Online MESynon`s blog

24 September 2012 7:34 AM

The terrifying power of the State over families: Ireland beware

This is my column from Monday's Irish Daily Mail. It covers plans by the Irish Government to introduce a so-called children's rights amendment to the Constitution by way of referendum in November.

Before you wrap yourself in virtuous intent and go off to vote Yes on this amendment, stop and look at it again: it is dangerous on many counts, and ought to be defeated.

The vested interests who are selling this thing have wrapped it in pious phrases such as ‘the legacy of failing our country’s children’ and leaving behind our ‘legacy of neglect, abuse and inequality.’ They hope you will not think to question what those phrases hide.

What the people using such phrases – in this case, the phrases are from Frances Fitzgerald, minister at the department of children – never say is exactly who it is who has been ‘failing our country’s children.’

Answer, in almost every case: the agents of the State.

Yet this amendment is geared to give the agents of the State even more power over children.

Back in Scotland:

PARENTS are being secretly judged on their views on race and diversity while in hospital with their newborn babies under the SNP Government's latest assault on family life.

During-the-scheme-parents-are-secretly-monitored-by-maternity-staff-to-judge-their-parenting-skillsDuring the scheme, parents are secretly monitored by maternity staff to judge their parenting skills
In a further twist, the same health board is asking children - some of them still at nursery school - to rate their parents or carers on a scale of 1-10.

The project is part of the sinister Big Brother-style system of state meddling called Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) which is being quietly rolled out across Scotland.

Last week, this newspaper exposed the "scary" plans for all children to be given a state guardian - or Named Person - who will have the legal right to tell parents how to raise their offspring.

GIRFEC also includes proposals to store a child's personal details on a series of databases, which can be accessed by social workers, teachers and other officials.

The "parental capacity to provide wellbeing" assessment forms have been introduced in Lanarkshire under a joint programme involving the health board and local councils.

Under one part of the scheme, parents are secretly monitored by maternity staff to assess their suitability for raising children.

If they are deemed to be worthy of further investigation, another form then asks whether or not they "respect and value diversity" and give "due prominence to their racial, ethnic and cultural heritage".
Emma Carr, deputy director of Big Brother Watch, said: "Why is the Scottish Government so suspicious of parents? Midwives shouldn't be lumbered with acting as social workers and parent monitors when they already have important jobs to be getting on with.

"This sort of heavy handed bureaucracy smacks of treating every new parent as a suspect and the NHS should get on with providing new parents with the best health care and support available, not policing forms about parent's views of diversity.

"Asking nursery aged children for their 'official' views on their parents is a disaster waiting to happen. What happens when children don't receive the toy that they wanted for Christmas? Public authorities should think about what it is they are trying to achieve, rather than sending out intrusive forms to young children and attempting to create a generation of sandbox snoopers."

Meanwhile, despite claims that personal details will be not be stored centrally, Lanarkshire's own GIRFEC newsletter - published in March - states that "core data about a child's wellbeing and wider world" will soon be available to teachers at a "click of a button".

GIRFEC is also at an advanced stage in most other council and health board areas across Scotland. 
A spokesman for NHS Lanarkshire said most mothers and fathers would get a one-part assessment, looking at health concerns and "parenting skills".

However, a "small proportion of families" would be subjected to a "more detailed assessment" by the midwife.

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