The Scottish government’s decision to appoint an overseer for every child is influenced by the United Nations, contends a director with America’s Home School Legal Defense Association, the premiere organization of its kind in the world.
“This law shows the natural progression for a country that has ratified the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child and attempts to live up to its treaty provisions,” said Michael Donnelly, HSLDA’s director of international relations.
Families and homeschoolers in Scotland have described the Children and Young People Bill as “anti-family” and “illegal,” and the Christian Institute, a Christian rights organization in the United Kingdom, plans to challenge it in court.
HSLDA has been exposing the pitfalls of the U.N. treaty, which has not been adopted by the United States.
The Scotland bill would appoint a “named person,” a government social worker, for every child born. The social worker’s job would be to “promote, support and safeguard the well being” of the child according to the standards of the state.
The bill includes vast data collection, which could be shared with just about anyone with or without the parents’ consent.
HSLDA warned the Children and Young People Bill is part of a larger government policy initiative in Scotland called “Getting it Right for Every Child,” or GIRFEC, a response to the U.N. treaty.
“The children and families of Scotland have been sold for GIRFEC gold” by 105 members of the Scottish parliament, said a representative of Schoolhouse HEA, the Scottish homeschooling advocacy group, “including those who so squealed loudly over ID cards, yet didn’t raise a whimper over the wholesale collection and sharing of every child’s (and associated adult’s) personal data.”
The Scottish organization worries that the term “well being” can be broadly defined.
Quoting the law, the group said well being is based on indicators such as being “safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible, included.”
Schoolhouse HEA said that with the exception of “safe,” none of the “well being” indicators “is of itself an indicator of a child at risk.”
“Therefore, they are not necessary for the state to mandate as thresholds for compulsory involvement in family life by the named person.”
Donnelly asked freedom-loving families and individuals around the world to spread the word.
WND previously reported that the program comes with a massive $50-million price tag.
The Christian Institute noted the Royal College of Nursing is warning that the scheme will require at least 450 new health “visitors,” or health inspectors, to be employed by the government.
“The RCN said that without increased funding the government will be ‘setting health visitors up to fail,’ as there are not enough health visitors currently in place ‘to meet even the needs of their existing caseloads,’” the institute said.
WND reported that the institute had promised to mount an attack on what its chief calls “Big Brother politics writ large.”
“It is clear this bill breaches European rules through its attack on the family, Colin Hart, director of the Christian Institute, said after the parliamentary law was adopted on a 105-0 vote.
“Ordinary Scots should be very afraid,” he said.
Hart said his organization has no option but to “challenge this illegal law all the way.”
The organization has obtained a legal opinion from Aidan O’Neill, who found that the government’s “named person” program allows it to make decisions that “cut across” the rights of parents.
O’Neill believes the European Convention on Human Rights, which requires governments to respect “private and family life,” would not allow the law.
According to the London Telegraph, the Children and Young People Bill is under fire for overstepping government rights.
The report explained: “The Conservatives unsuccessfully argued that a guardian should only become involved where there were concerns over issues of well-being or safety of a child.”
Liz Smith, the Scottish Conservative Party young people official, told the newspaper, “This will tip the balance of family responsibility away from parents toward the state β something which most parents find completely unacceptable.”
Smith said forcing all young people “to have a named person will, inevitably, dilute the resources available for our most vulnerable children.”
The Catholic Church, the Church of Scotland and a number of legal organizations have opposed the idea.
The institute said some 8,000 children already have been singled out for “targeted intervention” by the government.
A government official revealed that 7,927 children already had been given a “Child’s Plan” by a teacher or heath department official.
In a report by the institute, Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, said the figures suggest that “thousands of families are having their privacy interfered with on a daily basis.”
WND previously reported that a sociology lecturer was warning the plan could lead to the targeting of perfectly good and careful parents.
Lecturer Stuart Waiton told the institute, “It will take very little to trigger an investigation into a child and from there a false picture can easily be arrived at.”
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.
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 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.”