The family is a private realm into which the state should only reluctantly intrude out of necessity. Unless there is clear evidence to the contrary, it should be assumed that parents care for their children with love and commitment, devoting themselves in a way that the state cannot begin to emulate.
The Named Person Scheme legislation has been abandoned, but the philosophy of seeking to inject state ‘wisdom’ into families lives on and the continuing non-statutory Named Person Scheme will still present a challenge to the integrity of family life.
This dangerous philosophy has seven elements:
1) Distrust of parents,
2) The imposition of “expert” parenting approaches on all parents,
3) The undermining of parental authority and the elevation of child autonomy (often in the guise of Children’s Rights),
4) An excessive assessment of the vulnerability of children to everyday events and interactions,
5) The assumption that parents who punish their children are damaging them (the Smacking Ban is just the first step),
6) A desire to “protect” children from the values and beliefs of their parents, where these diverge from those of the state,
7) Viewing parents as subordinate members of a larger team of adults looking after a child.
The tight-knit world of Scottish Government, education, social work and children’s charities is dominated by this philosophy. In some areas, this spirit will be embodied in non-statutory Named Persons, but everywhere the same insidious philosophy still infuses professional attitudes.