Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Lessons from the Simpsons

From the National:

"We all remember the episode of The Simpsons in which Homer and Marge were classed as bad parents and their kids were taken away and placed in the care of the Flanders family. Although Homer and Marge seemingly benefited from government counselling, the episode’s message is that some families remain functional by being completely dysfunctional, making the audience wonder if governmental intervention was ever required for a family that, while odd, had so much love at its core."

"Although played for comic effect, this Simpsons tale gets to the heart of the Named Person controversy. It’s not that the SNP are morphing into a band of villainous child catchers. The idea of the Government replacing all parents is ridiculous (and even sillier when you consider I’m likely your real dad anyway). "

"The Named Person idea makes people anxious that, once again, politicians are trying to put out the village fire with a tsunami..."

There has been a bit of confusion over the tone of this article.

One response:  "Cheers for that smile emoticon It's a really clear description of the scope of the Named Person scheme - very helpful in understanding what it's about. "

For those who have doubts bubbling to the surface about the named person policy, a light hearted jokey article is reassuring. There`s nothing sinister going on now; who could be so flippant if there was? I`m sure it was designed to make people feel a whole lot better.

But the article fails to explain much of the controversy. Did parents ask for it?  Is it compulsory?

"Parents did not ask for a named person," says Maggie Mellon from Moray House College of Education. "Parents of children with special needs asked for services to get their house in order to stop passing the buck..."

Dee Thomas then adds:  "I can fully accept that children facing challenges need extra help but in these straightened times where Councils ( who are the NP employers) are having to increase Council Tax to pay for basic services to all people, why spend money on Universal NP for all families when many of us have no problems managing the day to day bringing up our children.?"

So there`s the `village fire being put out with a tsunami...`

Still another person is confused as to why parents or guardians believe that this is mandatory monitoring.  Suzanne Bosworth attempts to set this commenter straight:
Well here's the judgment delivered by Lord Carlaway, the second legal judgment in this whole debate. This second judgment upheld the first judgment.
 "It is designed to prevent crucial information on welfare being missed, as it has been on occasion in the past. However, in the event of a danger being detected, this legislation does not authorise any positive action beyond the offering of assistance. Any compulsory measures would require authorisation under different legislation. Such measures would themselves remain subject to Article 8 and other Convention rights considerations."

The mandatory monitoring is there in the words crucial information which must not be missed. Since the jigsaw picture is only complete when all the pieces have been put in place who knows when a piece of information is crucial?  - let the Named Person decide.  What the SNP have morphed into are not child catchers but data snatchers. But let`s face it, the one can easily be turned into the other.

"Any compulsory measures would require authorisation under different legislation," instructs the judgment. But that, too, can easily be arranged. See the Guidance  at section 2.5.7  [accessed 3 December 2015]
Early intervention and a compulsory supervision order are not mutually exclusive in promoting, supporting and safeguarding the wellbeing of a child or young person. The use of compulsion at an early stage may help to ensure compliance with interventions, and prevent wellbeing needs escalating. Parental capacity and willingness to change should be considered in order to assess whether the child’s wellbeing needs are likely to be met by voluntary support or whether a compulsory supervision order might be necessary. Just like the Simpsons.

See the latest NO2NP post which covers similar ground. HERE

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