By: Diane Robertson
Parents who do you think is best qualified to listen to, advise, and help your children? Would you name a doctor, a teacher, or a social worker, or do you believe that listening to, advising, and helping your children is your primary responsibility? Most parents I know, feel like they are best qualified to provide care and make decisions for their children.
The nation of Scotland is saying otherwise. On Aug. 31st Scotland will roll out a program referred to as the “named person scheme”. This government program will provide one official government agent to be a “named person” for every person under the age of 18. This named person will be there to listen, advise, and help every youth in the country. The named person will be a point of contact for every child outside their family.
The named person could be a midwife, health visitor, head teacher, deputy head teacher or guidance teacher, depending on the age of the child. It could also be someone who is a part of the Scottish prison services for youth in government custody.
The idea is that every child will have someone to go to for help or social services. A Named Person will have the power to speak to their assigned children about personal issues without parental consent or parental permission. They will also assume the role of teaching about personal matters such as gender and sexuality. A government pamphlet titled, Getting it Right for Every Child or GIRFEC explains some of what the Named Person will be overseeing for children. Some of these things include making sure each child:
* Is kept away from dangerous things
* Has a safe place to live
* Is not bullied
* Eats healthy food
* Is happy and feels good
* Goes to the doctor and dentist as needed
* Feels praised
* Learns new things
* Knows they are loved by their family
* Has sleeping, eating, and personal care routines
* Does fun things with the family
* Does things they like to do
* Is treated as an individual
* Can keep things private
* Has a say in how their room is decorated and what they watch on tv
* Says sorry
* Has the right amount of responsibility for their age
* Can join sports teams if the child desires
According to GIRFEC the named person will “think about your child’s whole environment. This means… people who are around your child, where your child lives, what is going on in your child’s life. They will think about what is good about your child’s environment. And they will think about what could be better. If they are worried about anything they will do something to help.”
In essence the Named Person Scheme takes the role of primary caregiver and decision maker away from the parents and grants it to the government. It attempts to remove the family as the fundamental unit of society and replace it with big, bureaucratic government. It has the power to remove or limit individual and religious teachings from the home, and even control such minute things as tv watching, eating habits, and bedtimes.
The No To Named Persons campaign group has described named person as “the most calamitous scheme the Scottish government has ever dreamed up”.