Monday, 23 February 2015

Backlash against the named person

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Dani Garavelli has written an article in support of the named person proposal in the Scotsman:

Unfortunately she is a bit confused about the named person`s role because she quotes a list of children, failed by child protection services - one of them from England, implying that if there had been a named person in place. the children might have been saved.

But according to the Scottish Government, the named person`s role is to be the first point of contact for those families who may need extra help. Once a concern is brought to their attention the named person may need to take action to promote, support and safeguard the child`s development and wellbeing. That support may be as simple as pointing a mother in the direction of the nearest food bank.

On the other hand, child protection is covered by the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 and nobody speaks a word against it. The problem for children who have been failed by child protection services is that those who are paid out of the public purse to protect children do not always abide by the principles and guidelines of the  legislation. So really, if we want to address these failures it is child protection practices that need to be examined. Foisting a named person for all children into that mix is not going to be helpful. Logic tells us that the system would be overloaded.

She goes on:

Strange then that when the Scottish Government tries to introduce a new law to make the line of accountability clearer it faces a backlash from people who think the state should butt out of family life. 

Named persons have been reassured by the Scottish Government that if it ever happened that there was another child protection failure it would be the local authority, not them, who would be held to account. So what is Dani Garavelli talking about ? As for there being a backlash from people who think the state should butt out of family life, that does not apply to child protection at all. There is no such backlash.

Ever since the named person provision, included in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, was first mooted, it has attracted opposition from a weird alliance of political commentators and right-wing Christian groups who seem to believe they – and presumably they alone should be exempt from scrutiny. 

When parents become aware that the named person will undermine their autonomy and threaten their children`s right to privacy, they invariably oppose the proposal. Weirdness has got nothing to do with it.

However, I do think it is weird that Dani Garavelli believes that health visitors and teachers already exert control over children and have the right to `stick their noses into their domestic affairs whenever they see fit.`

Children need protection from the Garavellis of this world and only their parents can do it. After all, history has much to teach us.

Adolf Hitler"The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation."

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