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Entries in Named Person (1)

Tuesday
May052015

Named Person training should stress including both parents

FNF Scotland has submitted its views to the Scottish Government consultation on the statutory guidance that will be underpin the recent Children and Young People Scotland Act 2014. The government invited views in particular on the parts of the Act that deal with “Wellbeing”, “the Named Person” and the new “Child's Plan”.

Our full submission will be published on the Scottish Government website in due course.

However our main observations attempted to draw the Scottish Government's attention to some of the looseness that remains in the draft guidance even though it runs to more than 100 pages.

Our submission points out:

* In the context of our experience supporting non-resident parents (and other family members) we are concerned that interventions often lack transparency and accountability and may take the child and family members down a route that suspends relationships for months or even years. Sometimes those relationships never recover. Our concern is that the interventions themselves sometimes become the focus and not the child.

* A large proportion of our casework raises instances in which professionals and institutions such as health providers and schools take a restrictive approach to their idea of family and will directly or indirectly exclude a non-resident parent, even one with Parental Rights and Responsibilities, from the kind of information and involvement that is necessary to underpin meaningful inclusion in family life with their child.

* It should be explicit in the Guidance that the information the Named Person “must have” should include the name and contact information for the non-resident parent and his/her formal or informal parenting time with his/her children. Our experience is that professionals too readily discount the positive contribution that the non resident parent can make to supporting their children through difficulties but are only too ready to include any adverse presumptions.

FNF Scotland National Manager, Ian Maxwell says, “Our hope is that in the future Scotland may move towards the Scandinavian model in which there is a default position of shared parenting of children whose parents do not live together. There is considerable research evidence that this model reduces the kind of conflict which takes up much court time in Scotland and drains the finances and emotions of separated parents. Shared parenting assists the emotional development of children. It improves their ability to form relationships in and out of school. It improves attainment at school and reduces discipline problems.

In the meantime we hope that if the Named Person training genuinely requires them to respect both parents equally and engage with both parents in working for the wellbeing of their children then this may be seen in time as a building block of an emotionally healthier Scotland.”