"THE welfare of unborn children will come under scrutiny as part of the Scottish Government’s proposals for a named person for every child in the country."
"Guidance on the implementation of the legislation, which was published last week, states that the named person could be involved with families and setting up "planning and support" during the last trimester of pregnancy. The legislation, which is due to come into effect in 2016, covers children from the day they are born up until the age of 18."
"But the guidance suggests that the named person, chosen by the state, would become involved at an earlier stage – a move that is likely to raise fresh concerns about the prospect of state interference in family life."
"The named person for each child would be identified about seven months into the pregnancy. Pregnant mothers will then be offered an opportunity to meet with their baby’s named person and a midwife, which the official guidance suggests should take place in the family home."
"The disclosure that the scope of the proposals includes unborn babies comes as more details are emerging about how the legislation will work in practice."
"The guidance states: "Where additional wellbeing needs are anticipated at birth the prospective Named Person should be involved in planning and providing supports to eliminate, reduce or mitigate risks to wellbeing."
"This would have to be done on a "non-statutory basis" because unborn children are not covered by the Act."
"But the named person would play a "lead role" in drawing up ante-natal support when the anticipated needs of the new-born baby are not generally available from routine services, the guidance states."
"As concerns grow about the impact of the legislation, teachers yesterday voiced concerns that they will struggle to fulfil the role of named person because of already stretched workloads, and the prospect of recriminations if a major abuse is uncovered where they are the named person."
"Liz Hunter, professional officer with the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA) said: "Our concerns with it would be the time it would take the teachers to compile the work to support the child properly. It would be the time for task."
"The named person would be the co-ordinator for the children’s plan. In that plan they would have to speak to the parents, they would have to speak to the child, they have to speak to, if they had one, a social worker or a healthcare professional or an educational psychologist or a speech and language therapist."
"Under the guidelines, children who may have behavioural problems may require a risk assessment..."
"Colin Hart, a No to Named Person (NO2NP) spokesman said: "The guidance regarding pregnant women is symptomatic of the general problems associated with this law which undermines parents and stretches already limited resources. Parents will become helpless spectators in the lives of their children and that will start in the mother’s womb as state control is extended there."