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Child Bill

April 2014

Scotland has approved controversial plans to create state-appointed guardians for all children in the country, despite strong opposition from family groups and other organisations.

The new rules were brought in to create more protection for children in vulnerable situations, with the aim of preventing suffering in abusive families.

According to proponents of the laws, the change will also provide more support for families and will spot health and emotional problems in children.

However, the Evangelical Alliance Scotland (EAS) has warned that the child protection law is on course for a ‘head-on collision with international conventions’.

The Evangelical Alliance, which represents more than 750 organisations and 2 million evangelical Christians in 3500 churches across 79 denominations in the UK, criticised ‘the broad-brush approach’ by the Alex Salmond administration.

It claims the assignation of a state guardian, known as a ‘named person’, to each of the 1,042,597 children across Scotland runs counter to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Conflicts ahead

Fred Drummond, director of EAS, said, ‘This raises serious concerns about the role of the state in modern Scotland; has massive implications for the role of parents; and appears to be begging for a fight in the law courts.

‘Some parents may wish to challenge it, because it is not immediately apparent whether it is lawful under the ECHR’.

One concern raised is what happens when the opinion of the named person conflicts with that of the parent over how the child is being raised. The EAS has warned that this could have massive implications and lead to an overburdening of the system, if children are going to be referred to social services as a result of misunderstanding or misrepresentation.

Mr Drummond said, ‘We fundamentally believe in the positive role of families which is why we are so concerned by the “named person”. We are deeply concerned that their approach will undermine the place of family, when the strongest, best and most secure context for the vast majority of Scottish children lies at home with loving parents’.






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