Under a new law in Scotland, parents will be reported to authorities for not giving a child enough “love, hope and spirituality,” according to a government health adviser who is helping craft rules for the law, which is scheduled to go into effect next year.
Bob Fraser said at a conference for childcare workers in Edinburgh last month that the “named person” portion of the Children and Young People Act is about ensuring “positive well-being” for all children not just for those identified as “in need.”
A spokesman for a campaign opposing the law, No to Named Persons, called Fraser’s stated intentions for the law a “dark, deeply worrying and insidious development.”
“Apparently, the named person will police family life according to some ever-shifting ‘happiness index.’ It’s an impossible standard for parents to measure up to,” the spokesman said, according to the Scottish Daily Mail.
Liz Smith, Scottish Conservative party spokeswoman, said it’s “exactly the sort of nonsense which critics of the named person scheme feared would happen.”
“Parents will be horrified at the suggestion of being targeted because a state guardian doesn’t regard their home as sufficiently spiritual,” she said, according to the Scottish Press.
WND has reported extensively on Scotland’s “named person” plan, which requires that a government worker be named to oversee the development of every child under age 18.
The government worker would have the authority to make decisions for the child that the parents might oppose.
A judge earlier dismissed a challenge to the law, but the U.K.’s Christian Institute is appealing the decision.
Fraser, who has the title Getting it Right for Every Child health adviser in the Scottish government’s Better Life Chances unit, said the new law is about “linking positive well-being and positive outcomes for all children.”
“Not just the usual suspects, not just those we identify as those in need,” he said.
“Every child deserves to have positive well-being. We have had suggestions of different indicators of love, hope and spirituality. I am not wedded. The Act is there at the moment. But in a few years, if people feel it is right, they should change that.”
The Christian Institute was part of the team that challenge the law in court, and Queen’s Counsel Aidan O’Neill explained the case.
“[It’s a] Big Brother law which threatens every family in the land and diminishes the rights and responsibilities of mums and dads to look after their children as they see fit,” he said.
In his ruling, the judge said it’s “a matter for the legislature to decide whether the well-being of children is likely to be promoted by having a near-universal system for appointing Named Persons.”
Among the many concerns about the law is that teachers will be encouraged to contact the appointed government guardian regarding sex-education issues rather than a child’s parents.
“It beggars belief that a teacher with concerns about the well-being of a child – including underage sexual activity, which is a serious criminal offense – should be told by the government to pass on those concerns to the Named Person and not the child’s parents,” the No to Named Persons campaign said in a statement.
WND reported the Christian Institute’s director, Colin Hart, who serves with the No to Named Persons campaign, said the “blanket nature of this law degrades the image of the family and derides the work of the vast majority of parents.”
“It also encourages suspicion among professionals about the dangers parents represent to their children,” he said.
Parents would be allowed to decline the guardian’s advice, but the guardian would “be able to share information with a wide range of public authorities and may intervene without parental consent.”
Along with the Christian Institute, the case was brought by the Christian charity CARE, Tymes Trust and the Family Education Trust.
The institute said parents James and Rhianwen McIntosh and Deborah Thomas are also part of the legal case, because they were told their child’s private medical reports would be given to a state agent.
A social worker, Maggie Mellon, also has spoken out against the plan.
See her statement:
The law, she said, would “bring about the end of family life as we know it.”
WND has reported the concept of a government watchdog for each child comes from the philosophy of the United Nations.
“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, director of international relations for Home School Legal Defense Association.