Friday, 1 May 2015

Assurances have been offered to parents amid fears about Named Person

"Assurances have been offered to parents amid fears about the controversial appointment of a ‘named person’ for every child in Scotland. Fife councillors called for greater clarity about the role to be introduced next August."

"Councillor Alice McGarry said parents feared these workers – health visitors and teachers – would "swoop in" on their children. Urging Fife Council to issue information to allay fears, the SNP councillor said: "There is a lot of scaremongering out there and it is important that the named person role is properly explained."

"Members of the council’s south west Fife area committee claimed that people were in the dark about the role intended to be a trusted point of contact."

"Conservative councillor Dave Dempsey said: "There is the idea there’s somebody out there getting told things about children that the parents are not and this person is somehow more important."

"Labour councillor Gavin Yates said government ministers were warned at an early stage by children’s organisations that greater clarity was needed."

"There is widespread opposition to the legislation, including from the Christian Institute Scotland which warned family life and privacy would be eroded and parents’ rights trampled on."

"Fife Council head of service Carrie Lindsay said: "For most children, the named person will never need to be involved in their care but for others this person will provide a point of contact that the child knows, can trust and will also have an overview and knowledge of them and their family context." [That is the problem.]

For example, from Angus some of the information they want:

Being healthy

This includes full information about all aspects of a child`s health and development, relevant to their age and stage. Developmental milestones, major illnesses, hospital admissions, any impairments, disabilities, conditions affecting development and health. Health care, including nutrition, exercise, physical and mental health issues, sexual health, substance abuse.

Learning and Achieving

This includes cognitive development from birth, learning achievements and the skills and the interests which can be nurtured. How additional needs are supported. Achievements in leisure, hobbies, sport. Education and social development milestones need to be recorded. Personal learning plans and other educational records should provide evidence of what has been achieved and what supports are needed or being provided for. Is the child`s progress with formal education in line with expectations? Attention should also be given to further educational or training needs and potential employment opportunities for young people moving or who have moved towards semi - or full independence.

Confidence in Who I am

Child`s/young person`s temperament and characteristics. Nature and quality of early and current attachments. Emotional and behavioural development. Resilience, self esteem. Knows views are listened to. Ability to take pride in achievements. Confidence in managing challenges, opportunities, difficulties appropriate to the age and stage of development. Sense of identity which has an appreciation of ethnic and cultural background and is comfortable with gender, sexuality, religious belief. Skills in social presentation.

Being able to Communicate

This includes development of language and communication. Being in touch and communicating constructively with others. Ability to express thoughts, feelings and needs. What is the child`s/young person`s preferred language or method of communication. Are there particular people with whom the child communicates that you will need to involve? Are aids to communication required?

Learning to be responsible

Learning appropriate social skills and behaviour. Values; sense of right and wrong. Consideration for others. Ability to understand what is expected and act on it. How does the child respond to key influences on social and emotional development at different ages and stages e.g. collaborative play in early childhood, peer expectations at school and outside.

Becoming independent, looking after myself

The gradual acquisition of skills and confidence needed to move from dependence to independence. Early practical skills of feeding, dressing etc. Engaging with learning and other tasks, acquiring skills and competence in social problem solving, getting on well with others, moving to independent living skills and autonomy. What are the effects of any impairment or disability or of social circumstances and how might these be compensated for?

Enjoying family and friends

How is the child or young person responding to relationships that support, value, encourage and guide her or him; to family and wider social networks; opportunities to make and sustain lasting significant relationships; encouragement to develop skills in making friends, to take account of the feelings and needs of others and to behave responsibly. This links and overlaps with what a child or young person needs from those who look after them and the wider environment.

This does not cover the family and other associated adults from whom more information is required.

How is it possible to have a private life with this level of intrusiveness ?

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