All Parents to be Supervised by State-Appointed Guardians in Scotland

Readers — As I write on the Reason blog today, Scotland is beginning to assign every child, from birth to 18, a “named person” — that is, a state-appointed guardian. The program will be nationwide by 2016. Each “named person” will be privy to the child’s health, school and other records. If they don’t like what they see, well — that’s what they’re there for. To intervene.

As one parent interviewed by NO2NP, the “Say No to the Named Persons” movement, said,“I love my child better than anyone else and so for the Government to tell me that I needed someone who knew better about my child to see to their wellbeing, that was really quite belittling to me as a parent.”

Read all about it here.  And good luck to the parents of Scotland who don’t want to be second-guessed for 18 years!  – L.

You are never alone with a "Named Person" watching your parenting!

You are never alone with a “Named Person” watching your parenting!

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54 Responses to All Parents to be Supervised by State-Appointed Guardians in Scotland

  1. BL June 30, 2014 at 6:08 pm #

    Where’s William Wallace when you really need him? :-(

    Seriously, who actually came up with this atrocity? Not just “the government”. A name of a person.

  2. SteveS June 30, 2014 at 6:39 pm #

    Seems like a terrible idea on a lot of levels. How are they going to pay for this? Are most Scots really ok with this?

  3. Papilio June 30, 2014 at 6:40 pm #

    I’m confused (and lawbook English doesn’t help…). It can’t be a like a CPS worker watching child & parents like a hawk 24/7, because of course they don’t have the money for that. So what exactly is it then?
    All this “OMG HORRIBLE NANNYSTATE!!!!”-ism just makes me want to understand the background of this law, and know what the REAL implications for parents actually are.

  4. Tamara June 30, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

    Never mind William Wallace – you’ve an upset Campbell over here! I simply can’t believe this is happening. How on earth are they justifying this I wonder? I need to take a closer look at this one. How far can they push us, as parents before folks stand up and take action? This is not freedom.

  5. Beth June 30, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

    How many kids are in one Named Person’s caseload?

  6. Donna June 30, 2014 at 6:49 pm #

    Papilio – It sounds more like what we call a guardian ad litem over here than a CPS worker. Basically, that is someone (either an attorney or a CASA volunteer) whose job it is to speak to the child, guardians, schools, medical providers, etc. and make a recommendation to the court as to what is in the best interest of the child. Of course, we only use them during CPS cases or child custody disputes and not for every kid ever born. The vast majority of kids in the US will never have a guardian ad litem.

  7. BL June 30, 2014 at 6:58 pm #

    “The vast majority of kids in the US will never have a guardian ad litem.”

    I’ll bet Scots thought the same thing until very recently.

  8. Dhewco June 30, 2014 at 7:08 pm #

    There’s not enough volunteers for every child that needs a GAL or CASA volunteer, much less every child period. This will never work like they wish and it’ll probably cause children who really need help to fall through the cracks as healthy, well-supported children get their aide.

  9. Bob Davis June 30, 2014 at 7:58 pm #

    And I always had the impression of the Scots being a thrifty, independent lot. What happened? The whole idea sounds daft. One would think that there more to this story than is being published, or that it was something cooked up by the local equivalent to The Onion.

  10. Matthew June 30, 2014 at 8:06 pm #

    I made the mistake of following the links all the way up. It sounds like the real world effects of the pilot program are horrifying already.

    Complacency here is a risk. In researching studies on discipline, I saw numerous lunatics that wanted this very thing. They wanted to have them make sure no negative discipline was used, including time outs or privilege removal, and many to make sure parents weren’t “forcing” religious beliefs on their kids.

  11. Warren June 30, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

    To all Scots, pick up a broadsword and fight or leave Scotland now.

  12. pentamom June 30, 2014 at 9:35 pm #

    Clearly, not every family is going to have a full-time person devoted to snooping on their parenting.

    But equally clearly, assuming we have a clear picture here, every family is going to have a person empowered to bring the force of government to second-guess their parenting decisions, any time that empowered person feels it’s appropriate to do so. Just because it’s not a one-to-one ration doesn’t mean it’s not deeply disturbing to have that kind of government involvement in ordinary families.

  13. hineata June 30, 2014 at 11:22 pm #

    Warren actually raises a valid point here. How many mild-mannered Scotsmen are there, really? Can’t say I’ve met any, at least once their mettle was rattled :-). Our family motto (the Scots part, anyway!) is actually ‘Mess with me at your peril’. And the clan that set of my ancestors comes from is a fairly large one. I believe too theirs’ is not the only war-like motto…

    So, surely this is from the Onion? I cannot imagine the Scots taking this lying down. Time for Bonny Prince Charley’s return….

  14. K June 30, 2014 at 11:33 pm #

    I think it’s probably a caseworker visiting the family once a month and delving into school and medical records. I find this to be deeply disturbing on multiple levels. I don’t agree with the discipline or religion policies Scotland has adopted and there are other parenting rules here in the US that I don’t agree with in whole or part. I think many of the consequences for parents are overkill. I don’t think the current generation of new graduates is especially creative or innovative. I don’t think they will lead the country especially well or start new businesses that will drag us out of the current stagnant economy we are stuck in. Certainly they can’t compete on a mathematical level with an average student from most of the Asian countries. In my opinion, the effect will be that the men won’t want to deal with the busybodies butting into everything and possibly arresting them for things that aren’t that risky and were common just a few years ago. I wouldn’t blame them for that response either. I think these policies can potentially affect the birthrate, though I don’t have numbers to prove it. That would be bad for any country as the number of children provides the forecast for future economic growth and other important factors. Scotland is a country, again in my opinion, that has had it’s “heyday” a long time ago and that the US is in some ways not too far behind. A policy of this type can do a lot of damage quickly, but it would be near impossible to get all the legislators to agree that it is a bad policy and needs to get abolished. I think birth rates will quietly continue to fall and children will still be infants at the age of 25, unable to compete with China. The state has not done remarkably well with public school education. Why should we think they will do better with parenting than the parents themselves? Whether we like it or not, the country needs a certain amount of smart kids who are brought up well to be able to compete in the complicated international arena. That includes learning to deal with and guage risk! Holding those kids back from trying new things because some other kids are ill-behaved and/or have disabilities is not good for the country as a whole or the family. I think state policies do hold the smart kids back in more ways than one. I also think there is already a lot of waste in the CPS system here and that spending that kind of money would mean that other more valuable programs would likely be cut.

  15. baby-paramedic June 30, 2014 at 11:38 pm #

    Well, we won’t be emigrated to Scotland then!
    And I was so looking forward to it.

  16. Warren July 1, 2014 at 1:05 am #

    Just who in the blue hell would be dumb enough to have a position of going into houses and telling a Scot/Highlander that they are bad parents?

    Child abuse rates will fall by 5%,,,,,woohoo!

    Assaults and manslaughters rise by 50%.

  17. Warren July 1, 2014 at 1:09 am #

    Really, you bring competing with China to the table?

    Do you really think that China is ahead because of math skills and a great workforce, and all those chinese starting their own businesses?

    I kind of thought that it was due to their oppressive gov’t, poor working conditions, super low pay rates, and the old regime. But what the hey, let’s put it down to math skills.

  18. Edward July 1, 2014 at 2:36 am #

    Blessed Bovine!! Am I to understand every kid in Scotland will be assigned a “Legal Stranger” who, without the parents consent, will be talking with, touching, and traveling with the kid to places the stranger deems necessary???!!
    And while the Stranger is spending all their time with some other kid…who is watching the Stranger’s kid???!!
    Did the Scottish legislators think any of this through???!!
    I’m going to stop here, don’t want to wear out my punctuation keys.

  19. MichaelF July 1, 2014 at 4:31 am #

    I wonder how many legislators who voted for this will be re-elected next year.

  20. Maurice July 1, 2014 at 7:23 am #

    Details hared with NO2NP, Schoolhouse, Christian Institute and others. I am a survivor of a story from 1980s Wales that is a clinching challenge to the Named Persons system, especially to the use of head teachers as Named Persons as is what several councils now say they are doing.

    My headmaster lead the forces who exploited me with a life wrecking work pressure resulting in the child abuse of a stress collapse at age 14.

    The high handed conduct of the child psychiatry team, which left me long term gagged to watch where I was safe to speak out to, further points against health or social work folks being Named Persons either. The details of this type of story need to be studied by the childcare academics behind the Named Person policy, and they need to answer to it before making it possible to appoint as Named Persons any of the authority figures who actually were the perpetrators of serious child harm upon me and wrecked all my life chances.

  21. rhodykat July 1, 2014 at 7:37 am #

    This is fallout from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the associated treaty.{98172987-5D33-4A41-AF04-84F6726222C3}

    It is all part of Agenda 21.

  22. K July 1, 2014 at 8:30 am #

    Warren –
    Despite China’s one child policy they still have a larger population than we do, which gives them a stronger military. The literacy rate is really close with us only ahead by a few percentage points, but generally they would do better in math. I know their jobs generally pay less, but their unemployment rate is lower and again they have more people. They are healthier. They eat healthier diets and are less likely to be obese. They also have much lower incidence of HIV and a few other diseases. I have heard that their work ethic is much better than our lazy, unmotivated 18 year-olds. I have read lists of up to 50 important areas that China is doing better than us. We helped that oppressive government by giving them our manufacturing sector. Part of their strength is their large population. I really do believe that doing anything that would make having children more difficult and/or less desirable would be a bad move for the country, regardless of a few children that fall through the current CPS system’s cracks. Other countries have risen to the top and fallen, largely due to poor leadership. Sometimes the larger whole is more important than the individuals.

  23. CK July 1, 2014 at 8:46 am #

    Good God….talk about scaremongering!
    Children in Scotland and the rest of the UK have always had a named person, otherwise known as a Health Visitor!! The role has not changed, they have always been responsible for overseeing a child’s growth and development, writing reports and accessing their medical information WHEN APPROPRIATE! Of course the health visitor and school nurse are privy to the child’s health records because it is them that writes them!!! After any contact with a parent and or their child, be it a home visit, telephone call or clinic, the notes are written up recording the contact!
    The ‘named person’ is merely a new name given by the Scottish government to a role that has always been.
    From reading most of the comments below (none of which i think are from anyone in Scotland) I can see how spreading mis-information through writing utter rubbish like this without actually understanding the facts is what causes mass panic when it is absolutely unnecessary.

  24. lollipoplover July 1, 2014 at 9:20 am #

    Can we pick our named person?
    I pick Gerard Butler.
    I’ll even make him a sandwich and pour him a pint. I just hope he doesn’t go all King Leonidas on me when I make mistakes or asks my son what his favorite subject is and he answers lunch and gym…actually, can I change it to Sean Connery? He seems more even tempered and less man-whorish.

    Besides, who needs a named person when you have a mother-in- law? Isn’t her role to point out everything I’m doing wrong?! Creating government positions to replace the role of community involvement and families (does anyone have god parents anymore?) won’t improve how we raise our children. It takes a village, not a state-run parenting police force. Spend the money on quality childcare for low-income families instead.

  25. Papilio July 1, 2014 at 9:22 am #

    @CK: Thank you! I suspected there’d be something like that going on here – it reminded me of that huge fuss about NYC hospitals keeping formula behind lock and key, while all they really did was give more info and shift the default from formula to breast feeding. The horror, the horror.

  26. pentamom July 1, 2014 at 9:29 am #

    CK: then the conclusion is that the state has already had too much involvement in families for a long time. Thanks for clearing that up.

  27. anonymous mom July 1, 2014 at 10:00 am #

    I’d have to know more about the Scottish child protection and legal systems before I’d be able to determine if this was a bad or a neutral or a good thing.

    In the U.S., a system like this would be disastrous, because of our extremely punitive practices. We have a child welfare system that tends to take the kids first and ask questions later (and continue to list/track parents even after they are cleared of any wrongdoing), and a criminal justice system that locks up as many people we can for as many things as we can for as long as we possibly can.

    However, we seem to be an aberration in this regard. In a less punitive, hysterical society, some kind of state support for parents might not actually be scary. I think we have to realize how uniquely punitive the U.S. is and how much that rightly shapes how we think about things, but that it isn’t necessarily applicable to the rest of the world, where things like education, support, and restorative justice aren’t completely foreign concepts. It’s my understanding that many European countries do their best to keep families intact and do not rush to remove children and file criminal charges the way we do here.

  28. Tamara July 1, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    CK – it really doesn’t look like the named person scheme is the same as a health visitor. The health visitor’s role appears to be just that – health related visits fom birth to age 5. We have this in canada however you absolutely can opt out. The new law is much much more invasive – fm birth to age 18. The act itself seems very vague – it states that the purpose is to protect the child’s well being and intervene i”if necessary” section 2 states:

    (2)A child has a wellbeing need if the child’s wellbeing is being, or is at risk of being, adversely affected by any matter.

    “Any matter”? This is way too broad, interference and abuse will be rampant and apparently already is.

    I agree with Warren (did I just say that?) – watch out, Scotland, I hope the Scots get in the fight, I would volunteer my sword.

  29. Donna July 1, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

    CK – And we’re supposed to think he Health Visitor idea is a good thing? Sounds like huge government overreach into parenting existed already.

  30. Reziac July 1, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    I’m reminded of something a Canadian friend told me of… that in Quebec, you can lose your children for refusing to teach them French, because that’s ‘bad parenting’.

    And of course… whose standard of childrearing does Scotland plan to apply? Yours? mine? a bubblewrapper? a neglecter? Randomly depending on the whim of the CPS employee? Yeah, that last is probably the ‘standard’ that will be applied.

    As one of the comments on the Reason blog says, “Why stop when the child reaches 16-18?” Hmm, perhaps that’s the point. Just in case they grow up to be terrorists, pedophiles, or political deviants in need of further supervision.

    I suggest mass civil disobedience, such as not declaring that your child exists in the first place.

  31. Dirk July 1, 2014 at 4:47 pm #

    Wow. What a kettle of fish. But the description of this doesn’t sound right at all. From the actual website ( it looks more like IF there was a problem (like a kid getting arrested, or a kid ends up in the hospital and the hospital calls the cops) then this person would be brought in like a social worker. It sounds like this person is just pre-assigned at birth rather than taking the time to assign some one after the fact. Judging from their website from what I have read so far…

  32. Papilio July 1, 2014 at 5:29 pm #

    I too did some digging.

    “The Named Person will a) be available to the child/family for help and support where required – for most children the Named Person is very likely to be a midwife (for the earliest period), then a Health Visitor (up to the age of 5 in most cases), then a head/deputy head/guidance teacher (for those children going into public or independent schools). If the family needs assistance the Named Person will use their professional contacts to link them with suitable help. Every child and family will know who their Named Person is but do not need to make use of this service if they do not wish to do so; and
    b) act as a focal point for gathering concerns – this includes concerns expressed by a family member or by other professionals (such as the police or GPs) to ensure a holistic view of what is happening in the child’s life is available and determine whether any further action is required to safeguard the child’s wellbeing.

    If a concern about wellbeing has been brought to the attention of the Named Person, they will a) seek to resolve this wherever possible in discussion with the child and family (sometimes with the help of other professionals). This may involve:
    – Noting the concern for future review or a decision to take no further action in the absence of any future new concern; or
    – Creating a Child’s Plan, outlining what the concern is and which interventions are being put in place to help resolve it.

    Or b) in the case a family is unwilling to engage, consider in light of the information the Named Person has, whether the concern about the child’s wellbeing is significant enough to activate their obligations under law to promote, support and safeguard the child’s wellbeing. In this case they will need to consider what further action might be appropriate in consultation as necessary with relevant colleagues.

    c) In all cases, decisions will be based on the individual child’s needs and risks”

    And elsewhere, about Glasgow: “a city where the shadows of chronic substance misuse, unemployment and poor health have loomed over generation after generation” and “birth parents whose main obstacle to being the parent their child needs is their own experience of trauma and neglect in childhood. These families often have myriad and complex problems”

    So… I guess it all depends on what kind of person the Named Person of your child is. If it’s a down-to-earth Scot, maybe this will keep authorities from arresting you over one tiny less-than-perfect parenting moment. Like Anonymous Mom kinda said, you’re looking at this through ugly-colored American 1984 glasses, but the reality in another culture and country can be very different.
    I admit the UK is a bit tricky in that it tends to follow the US like a little boy that wants to be like his big brother (no pun intended), but I don’t know if that’s true for the Scots as well. Maybe, as the Dutch say, the soup isn’t eaten as hot as it is served.

  33. Papilio July 1, 2014 at 5:31 pm #

    Hmm, those XHTML thingies aren’t cooperating today…

  34. Yocheved July 1, 2014 at 6:49 pm #

    Holy cats, that is terrifying! This is why I vote Libertarian.

    What if the “named person” doesn’t agree with your religion? I’m an Orthodox Jew, and I can just imagine someone telling me “you know, your child needs more pork in her diet.”

  35. Donna July 1, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

    Papilio – That does little to make me think this is not a HUGE government overreach. Basically the idea that there is some other person out there who can interfere in my parenting decisions any time that they choose is Big Brother. It is completely irrelevant to me whether they ever choose to exercise that power or not; the mere fact that they can is ridiculous.

  36. anonymous mom July 2, 2014 at 11:28 am #

    I don’t know, honestly this sounds like it could be better than our system. It sounds like, rather than people immediately jumping to contact CPS or the police if there is a concern about a child, this “named person” would be the first person to get involved, and if it could be resolved at that level, that would be all.

    In the U.S., we can have anybody interfere in our parenting at any time, too, simply by calling CPS or the police. And we know that whether they have a really legitimate concern or not often doesn’t matter–we see both extremely overzealous responses to illegitimate concerns and a lack of response to legitimate ones. The stakes are much higher, it sounds like, than they’d be if a midwife or nurse or principal had some authority to discuss and resolve the concern without needing to alert other, punitive authorities.

  37. Donna July 2, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

    anonymous mom –

    There is absolutely not rampant reporting of people to CPS/police. What we read about here is as uncommon as abductions. Sometimes I’m not sure that this blog does anything more than promote fear-mongering itself, just in a different direction.

    The fact is that this “named person” would do nothing to stop the majority of those police/CPS reports because they are “emergency” situations. Do you really think someone is going to take the time to figure out the “named person” if a child is left alone in the car or is walking down the street alone? Of course not, they are still going to call 911. The resolution might ultimately be up to this “named person” but nothing has changed.

    There is a HUGE difference between someone being bothered enough to take the time to report you to CPS (outside of the “emergency” situations which will still result in a 911 regardless) and having someone whose JOB IT IS to check up on your child for no reason other than s/he exists. CPS doesn’t know you exist unless someone reports you for some reason – something that is absolutely not going to happen for the vast majority of the population. CPS is not out there collecting medical records, school reports, etc. about ALL kids and combing through them for issues. That seems to be the whole point of this “named person” – to oversee every child born and become involved if there is a problem.

  38. pentamom July 2, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

    a-mom, I don’t think the same people who think the system being implemented in Scotland is a problem, think that CPS being able to make trouble for you whenever they receive a tip about anything regardless of merit is a good thing. Both can be undesirable. And now, we’re not necessarily concerned that every contact is going to result in dire consequences. It’s more like it’s the government’s job to enforce laws when they’re broken, not to monitor the parenting of people with no track record of criminal malfeasance.

    Better to have the government not empowered to be involved with your family until there is actual evidence of something clearly illegal going on. That’s how it works in other areas, parenting should be the same.

  39. anonymous mom July 2, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

    That makes sense. I was reading it more as, if a concern was raised, the “named person” would be the first to intervene, but if the named person is the one raising the concerns, that has a lot more potential for intrusion.

    I do think, to some extent, we could do with more home visits in the U.S., from medical professionals, especially in the very early days of parenting. When I was in grad school and had my oldest, our insurance paid for a program where a nurse would come to your home for you and the baby’s 1- and 6-week appointments. It was a combination of the basic well-baby/well-mama visits and a check in to see how you were doing and offer support services if needed. (And my visiting nurse offered to throw in a load of laundry on her first visit, which was very nice!) I do think, if handled well and not as a means to catch parents doing something wrong, things like that can be helpful. I’ve never understood, honestly, making new moms bring their baby in to the ped’s office for the one-week appointment. I’d rather have home visits for that, even if it involves some level of appropriate, non-punitive interest in how parenting the new child is going.

  40. Donna July 2, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

    I wouldn’t have wanted a nurse coming to my house when my daughter was a baby. I appreciated the motivation to get out and about even if just to go to the pediatrician’s office. Now when she changed to a screaming banshee after a few weeks, I loved to have someone come in, but I wanted a babysitter, not a nurse.

    It takes all kinds. Some may like home visits and some may find them an intrusion. As long as the program was something that one chooses to enroll in, I have no problem with it. I do have a problem with a program that insists everyone must have this oversight.

  41. Emily July 2, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

    >>They wanted to have them make sure no negative discipline was used, including time outs or privilege removal, and many to make sure parents weren’t “forcing” religious beliefs on their kids.<<

    @Matthew–Really? That's completely messed up. When I was a kid, my parents gave me and my brother time-outs when we misbehaved, but it wasn't punitive, exactly; it was more to give us a chance to calm down, and "come back when we were ready to be pleasant." As for removing privileges, a lot of that was a "logical consequence" thing. For example, I remember being about seven years old, and leaving my bicycle outside overnight (maybe even in the rain, I don't remember). My mom suspended my bike-riding privileges for (I think) a week over that, because leaving the bicycle outside wasn't a responsible thing to do, and with the privilege of bicycle ownership comes the responsibility of taking care of said bicycle. It was especially annoying for me, because, at the time, my brother was learning to ride a two-wheeler, using my bike, so for that week, he was allowed to ride my bike, but I wasn't. I never left my bike outside overnight after that. But anyway, if spanking is off the table (which I agree with, by the way), and time-outs, removing privileges, and grounding are also gone, then what's left? I mean, I suppose there's "civil restitution" type discipline, where, say, the child who bites someone applies ice to the bite, or the child who breaks a sibling's toy replaces it out of his or her allowance (or, the parent replaces it, and the child who broke it pays the money back), or if it's an "emotional" thing like excluding or embarrassing someone, the perpetrator has to write an apology note, and/or do something nice for the victim, but that only works when there's another person involved. If my mom had said, "Emily, write an apology letter to your bike," I'd have thought she was crazy.

    Anyway, this whole scenario seems like it'd make for a really good episode of South Park.

  42. Papilio July 3, 2014 at 6:27 pm #

    In my country, sex with a child over 12 and under 16 used to be illegal BUT noone would get prosecuted unless someone actually reported it. A few years back that was changed, so now they can prosecute even if noone reports it. Does that mean teens now get arrested left and right for having consentual sex with 15-year-olds? No. That law is in place only so prosecuters have a better ‘weapon’ against loverboys, and, for example, a 35-year-old who preys on vulnerable girls (with parents who *don’t* care) and manipulates them to have sex with him.
    It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if this Scottish law is something like that: a way to get to the children who’d otherwise slip through the net and don’t receive the help they need.
    Disappointingly Lenore nor Spiked-online provides information on how well or badly Scottish children are generally doing. Are we to believe the Scots come up with this law just because it’s so much fun to prosecute people who serve their kids non-organic kale??

  43. Silver Fang July 3, 2014 at 11:20 pm #

    And people wonder why I’ve elected not to have kids.

  44. Warren July 4, 2014 at 9:46 am #

    Regardless of whether you see good in this, a little good in this, or the absolute danger in this law, you have to understand that human behaviour will take over. By that I mean that as soon as one child slips past this state guardian, into abuse or death or whatever the whole dynamic will change.
    The state guardians will immediately go into “better safe than sorry”, “cover your ass” mode, and then the chaos will be full blown.

  45. Papilio July 4, 2014 at 10:32 am #

    “The state guardians will immediately go into “better safe than sorry”, “cover your ass” mode, and then the chaos will be full blown.”

    So then they’ll contact CPS over more children than they otherwise would have, and then what? Wouldn’t CPS just assess the situation like they do now, and then decide what to do? After all, CPS also sometimes does too much and sometimes too little. Or are you saying that CPS in some countries does take children away unnecessarily far more often than they fail to take them away when it was necessary? (Just asking; I don’t know everything!)

  46. Papilio July 4, 2014 at 10:44 am #

    Or do you mean some Named Persons would bother parents over every single little thingie? In that case I can see the potential problem…

  47. Donna July 5, 2014 at 6:58 am #

    Papilio – The problem with a law that has broad powers is that those broad powers can always be exercised. So, for example, while your stat rape laws may not be fully prosecuted today, there is nothing to stop them from being and things in 10 years might be very different. Giving people great power and then relying on them to restrain themselves rarely works out well in the long run. Expanding the use of laws already in existence as society changes is much easier than passing a new law 10 years from now will be. And, once it is on the books and a society built around the existence of this Named Person, it will be hard to make it go away should it run amok under a new regime.

    As for CPS. CPS does not take a wealth of kids unnecessarily, but it happens. CPS also does not regularly fail to remove kids who need to be removed, but it happens. I’m not sure where the Named Person really helps the situation. CPS will continue to be manned by humans who make mistakes. Laws will continue to define action, sometimes to the detriment of the children they are aimed at protecting. Parents who are good at hiding abuse from friends, family, schools, doctors, etc. will continue to be good at it. I’m sure that the Named Person system will result in a small number of kids being helped that would not have been otherwise, but, in a system run by humans, it can (my guess is likely wull eventually) also result in a large number of innocent people being questioned about innocent things. If the small number saved is justification aren’t you just using the same “one child is too many” mentality of helicopter parents?

  48. Papilio July 5, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

    Donna – my playing advocate of the devil is not meant to defend this law down to the last comma (not that I’ve read it to the last comma – did anyone here?).
    What I see here is that this discussion didn’t start out with the facts, about which we can form our own opinion. It’s based upon a biased article, that Lenore then served to us with some extra sugar. You don’t get meaningful discussions based on that, it’s just all pointless ‘oh no, how horrible, so glad I don’t live in Scotland, yada yada yada’, and we’re all supposed to just assume that the Scots have lost their mind and that there’s no other reason for this law than 1984-type dictatorship.
    It also forms an alternative network of bias and misinformation and overreaction that people get stuck in (ever seen that ludicrous Foxnews segment on the Netherlands? I’m sure some people believe every word though…), unless someone goes back to the actual facts. But: people come to *this* site to find those actual facts – they don’t come here to get some more fearmongering, just about different topics. If this site serves up biased sh*t, then what information can we still trust? Is everyone lying, all contradicting each other because of their own (political) agendas?

    Another point is the American glasses. Just because something is true/would likely happen in your country, doesn’t mean the same concept (say, a public school) entails the same thing in other countries. Also, Americans seem allergic to pretty much anything that vaguely reeks of a bigger government, while we already have a big government and the world’s still turning and we’re still not North-Korea. So while I get that there are concerns about this particular law, I don’t quite freak out right away because I know I’m not seeing the full picture.

  49. pentamom July 5, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

    “Also, Americans seem allergic to pretty much anything that vaguely reeks of a bigger government, while we already have a big government and the world’s still turning and we’re still not North-Korea. ”

    I think it’s important to understand that every time someone says “It is a bad idea for government to have this power,” we’re not necessarily saying it because we’re afraid there’s a slippery slope to Pyongyang. Speaking at least for myself, it’s just a matter of being against it, because it seems like a bad idea. It doesn’t fit with traditional American ideas on the government’s role in people’s lives. If the Dutch want to say, “But it hasn’t caused disaster for us!” I’ll just say, “Fine, but it’s not what I want.”

    I’m not denying there are those who see a police state under every bush, but there are plenty of us who come at this from a position not of worst-first or fear of the worst, but just a belief that it’s not the way we think things should be run.

  50. Donna July 5, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

    Papilio –

    Humans are humans. While institutions may vary from place to place, human nature remains basically the same throughout the world. What that means is that people everywhere will attempt justify their own existence. No Named Person is going to want to stand up 5 years from now and say “hey, I’m not really needed in this role because we haven’t provided any added value to society.” They are instead going to work damn hard to provide that added value. Which doesn’t mean that people are corrupt and Named People will be concocting problems, but it does mean that they are absolutely not neutral 3rd parties. They are viewing every situation through the eyes of a person who NEEDS to “help” to sustain their position.

    That is very much the problem with CPS. Although some of the issues of overreach is selection bias – people who choose to go into social work are probably more inclined to want to fix the world – but some of it is the basic need to justify their own existence. This is why we seem to see so much more overreach in suburban areas where problems leading to CPS intervention are more rare than in inner cities and other poor areas where there is already ample need for their services. Same really with police intervention.

    “Americans seem allergic to pretty much anything that vaguely reeks of a bigger government”

    Ummmm, maybe you watch too much Foxnews? We are a HIGHLY divided country and about half are definitely on board with bigger government in many respects and the other half would like to do away with all government except police and the military.

    But, as Pentamom said, a dislike of this program does not require a belief that Scotland is going to descend into N. Korea or even a dislike of government. It can be a statement that this is not what we believe to be the role of government. I am a bigger government person. I fully support socialized medicine, building our infrastructure, social welfare programs, etc. I still don’t think the government should be inserting itself into overseeing all children. Even if it does remain completely innocuous, it is absolutely not what I want happening where I live.

  51. Papilio July 9, 2014 at 5:50 pm #

    Sorry about the late response, life got in the way :-)
    So on the off-chance anyone’s still reading: There’s human nature, which I agree is likely fairly the same everywhere, and then there are cultures, which can differ a lot in what is regarded normal and what isn’t (also influenced by things like climate or the history of the country, religion, etc), part of which will be reflected in existing laws and regulations. So I do believe the same thing in different countries could work out differently.

    Re the negative comments on bigger gov’t: no, I don’t generally look up Fox”news” on Youtube (just that one segment on NL… Do they always lie that much?), I read articles and comments on various sites and this was my general impression. And that can’t be that odd: the average American just IS far more conservative than the average Dutch; of course I will read relatively many comments by people who are against stuff that I consider perfectly normal, even if they consider themselves liberal. Sooo… :-/

  52. Sophie July 11, 2014 at 5:49 am #

    CK – I’m Scottish. Believe me, a lot of Scottish people are strongly opposed to this.

    It’s a totally different thing from the health visitor and the school nurse having access to medical records. I’d advise you to do further research.

    This is a breach of our right to a private life and right to a family life. It’s a terrible idea that will raise many more false flags, stretch resources that could be used for families who actually need them, and is in itself an unwarranted intrusion into family life.

    The named person will usually be the child’s schoolteacher. Not an expert who has special knowledge about how to read and interpret records and data, and spot signs of harm or abuse therein, but a teacher. Think about that. Your child’s teacher having access – your consent having NOT been sought in advance – to see your child’s records and to make judgements. Not judgements about whether they are being abused or ill-treated, but whether or not every and any decision/attitude/belief they find recorded about your family’s private life is in the interests of your child’s ‘wellbeing’. Think about how broad a phrase that is, and think about how this will absolutely break down trust between parents and teachers.

    And who will protect the child or the family from the ‘named person’? What if they just happen to be a massive busybody?

  53. Sophie July 11, 2014 at 5:55 am #

    It’s also very insulting to every parent in Scotland that they supposedly need a state-appointed minder to oversee their decisions. Every Scottish parent is being treated, via this scheme, as though they are a child abuser until proven innocent.

  54. Sophie July 11, 2014 at 6:08 am #

    Papilio –

    You said:

    “Disappointingly Lenore nor Spiked-online provides information on how well or badly Scottish children are generally doing. Are we to believe the Scots come up with this law just because it’s so much fun to prosecute people who serve their kids non-organic kale??”

    Are you trying to imply that child abuse might be epidemic in Scottish society, necessitating the state’s appointment of an overseer for every single Scottish family?

    I grew up here. Let me assure you that we’re pretty normal. We don’t have a rampant child abuse problem; just a well-documented and maddening inclination towards nanny state-ism.