A sociology lecturer is warning that a plan for the government in Scotland to assign an adult overseer for every child born in the country could lead to the targeting of perfectly good and careful parents.
According to a report from the Christian Institute, a legal organization that fights on behalf of parental rights, lecturer Stuart Waiton is warning of the negative consequences of a plan up for a vote later this month.
“It will take very little to trigger an investigation into a child and from there a false picture can easily be arrived at,” he said.
Innocent issues such as what a child eats, or the views they express, could make “good parents fair game” for the “health and safety zealots, obsessed with risk management,” he said.
Also, the Institute reported, a top human rights lawyer has advised that the powers given to government appointees under the Children and Young People Bill, the government employee assigned to each child would have powers that “cut across” parental rights.
Aidan O’Neill told in the organization’s report that the scheme, in fact, might violate the European Convention on Human Rights, which says the state should respect “private and family life.”
He said the bill appears to establish that the “primary relationship” for children will be with the government, not their parents.
Colin Hart, director of The Christian Institute, which obtained the legal opinion from O’Neill, says the idea is a “monumental attack on orthodox family life.”
The opinion said the government’s appointee, a “named person,” could intervene and even share information with other authorities and agencies.
WND reported earlier that parents in Scotland are fighting the “anti-parent” proposal. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association, the measure is part of an initiative that calls for “Getting it Right for Every Child.”
But the Scottish Express reported that one expert described the idea as “sinister.”
“The proposals could interfere with Article 8 of ECHR, the right to respect for private and family life, as there is scope for interference between the role of the ‘named person’ and the exercise of a parent’s rights and responsibilities,” said the Scottish Law Society’s Morag Driscoll.
“It could be interpreted as disproportionate state interference,” she said.
The nation’s Schoolhouse Home Education Association said the legislation “is open to abuse and misinterpretation and many parents could fall foul of overzealous agents of the state or people who are just plain busybodies.”
Critics charge the plan also would allow children who are angry with their parents to report them to their named person, with potentially devastating consequences.
The government has defended the idea, explaining, “The protection and promotion of the well-being of Scotland’s children and our aim of making our nation the best place for children to grow up are at heart of the Children and Young People Bill. Our focus is on the safety and protection of children. The named person, who is likely to be a health visitor, head or deputy head teacher and will usually already know the child, will be a first point of contact if help is needed. This is formalizing what should already happen and there is evidence it is working well in many areas. We are confident it is compliant with European law.”
WND reported that Will Estrada, director of federal relations for the HSLDA, believes the idea is an outgrowth of the general belief held by organizations such as the United Nations that government knows best for everyone.
“This is an example of why HSLDA opposes ratification of [various] U.N. treaties,” Estrada said. “The argument that these treaties are mere altruistic expressions melts away when you look at what is happening in the legislatures of countries who ratify the treaties and try to live up to their treaty obligations. A ‘named-person’ for every child and national databases? No thanks.”
The social agency operative, according to the plan, would look after and monitor the child to be certain the child’s rights are not being violated based upon the standards of the United Nations Conference on the Rights of the Child.
“A local authority is to make arrangements for the provision of a named person service in relation to each child residing in its area,” the new proposal explains.