Ben Borland, Express, May 26, 2013
Parents are being secretly judged on their views on race and diversity while in hospital with their newborn babies under the SNP Government’s latest assault on family life.
In a further twist, the same health board is asking children–some of them still at nursery school–to rate their parents or carers on a scale of 1-10.
The project is part of the sinister Big Brother-style system of state meddling called Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) which is being quietly rolled out across Scotland.
Last week, this newspaper exposed the “scary” plans for all children to be given a state guardian–or Named Person–who will have the legal right to tell parents how to raise their offspring.
GIRFEC also includes proposals to store a child’s personal details on a series of databases, which can be accessed by social workers, teachers and other officials.
The “parental capacity to provide wellbeing” assessment forms have been introduced in Lanarkshire under a joint programme involving the health board and local councils.
Under one part of the scheme, parents are secretly monitored by maternity staff to assess their suitability for raising children.
If they are deemed to be worthy of further investigation, another form then asks whether or not they “respect and value diversity” and give “due prominence to their racial, ethnic and cultural heritage”.
Another part of Lanarkshire’s GIRFEC “toolkit” includes a questionnaire children to rate their parents or carers on a scale of 1-10 in a range of different areas.
The youngsters, who can still be at nursery school, are given a series of prompts, including “do you have someone who listens seriously to your opinions and ideas and anything you have to say?”.
Emma Carr, deputy director of Big Brother Watch, said: “Why is the Scottish Government so suspicious of parents? Midwives shouldn’t be lumbered with acting as social workers and parent monitors when they already have important jobs to be getting on with.
“This sort of heavy handed bureaucracy smacks of treating every new parent as a suspect and the NHS should get on with providing new parents with the best health care and support available, not policing forms about parent’s views of diversity.
“Asking nursery aged children for their ‘official’ views on their parents is a disaster waiting to happen. What happens when children don’t receive the toy that they wanted for Christmas? Public authorities should think about what it is they are trying to achieve, rather than sending out intrusive forms to young children and attempting to create creating a generation of sandbox snoopers.”
Meanwhile, despite claims that personal details will be not be stored centrally, Lanarkshire’s own GIRFEC newsletter – published in March – states that “core data about a child’s wellbeing and wider world” will soon be available to teachers at a “click of a button”.
GIRFEC is also at an advanced stage in most other council and health board areas across Scotland.
This is despite the fact that the SNP’s Children and Young Person’s Bill, which sets out much of the legal framework, has yet to be approved by Parliament.
Scottish Conservative health spokesman Jackson Carlaw said: “This is typical of the SNP wanting to probe into people’s lives too deeply.”
A spokesman for NHS Lanarkshire said most mothers and fathers would get a one-part assessment, looking at health concerns and “parenting skills”.
However, a “small proportion of families” would be subjected to a “more detailed assessment” by the midwife.
He added: “At all times, assessments are carried out in a supportive way and in partnership with the family. All information is gathered solely to support the baby’s wellbeing is only used for this purpose. Parents have the right to refuse to answer any questions they are uncomfortable with as part of the assessment.”