Comments about ‘Scottish bill casts doubt on role of family as fundamental to society’

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Published: Friday, June 20 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

Abrogation of parental rights is happening in the United States, at least in Massachusetts, where the state denied Justina Pelletier's family from removing her from state custody - when the state was not providing any medical assistance. It turns out several other Massachusetts families were similarly denied parental rights.

Springville, UT

I don't know anything about this Scottish bill, but I am betting that this editorial is an overreaction.

Casey See

It is seemingly well intention laws that are so broad and over arching that can be easily manipulated by different groups to advance their perceived set of values. yes both sides of the spectrum can hijack such laws.

Star Bright
Salt Lake City, Ut

Maybe, Esquire, you might read he bill before you condemn the editorial.

Wilf 55

This editorial misinforms the reader by taking the Scottish bill out of context and imagining horrible consequences -- obviously as an endeavor to ring alarm bells over other issues where the traditional family is "under attack".

All what is happening in Scotland is that The National Guidance for Child Protection, published in 2010, was updated in relation to issues such as Child Sexual Exploitation and Internet Safety. Additional notes aim "to raise practitioner awareness of the increased vulnerability of disabled children." The U.S., and Utah in particular, could take a lot of inspiration from other advanced countries who spend much more on education and health care for their children.

American Fork, UT

The highly touted 'traditional' family appears to be a disfunctional system that often fails, and more and more is a terrible place to grow up in. Instead of virtually guaranteeing every person the right to reproduce, we'd be better off if kids were very difficult to have. I'm not surprised government has to step in; someone has to do it.

Wilf 55

Update of my previous comment. More information shows that the Scottish bill contains many excellent provisions such as more free Early Learning for 3 and 4 year olds; protection for the most vulnerable small children; Free School Lunches to all children in primary 1–3; better permanence planning for looked after children by giving all 16 year olds in care the right to stay in care until the age of 21; support the parenting role of kinship carers; provide a single point of contact for every child at risk, etc.

The "opposition" seems to comes from extreme Christian right-wing groups who cry foul for anything that they imagine threatens their fundamentalist view on education. It's a shame that this DN editorial does not give an honest view on the whole situation. And, again, Utah could learn a lot from Scotland here.

Springville, UT

@ Star Bright, I said I don't know anything about the bill. And I stand by my comment, that this editorial is an overreaction. I'll rely on the good efforts of Wilf55, who seems to be providing more objectivity and bona fide information than this hand-wringing editorial.

Provo, UT

This editorial is downright deceptive in misrepresenting the "Children and Young People (Scotland)Act".

The Act is "to make provision about the rights of children and young people; to make provision about investigations by the Commissioner for Children and Young People in Scotland; to make provision for and about the provision of services and support for or in relation to children and young people; to make provision for an adoption register; to make provision about children’s hearings, detention in secure accommodation and consultation on certain proposals in relation to schools; and for connected purposes."

There is nothing nefarious about this bill, and it does NOT cast any doubts on the role of the family (nor the "traditional family").

The Bill is an update designed to "make provision" for meeting the requirements of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (commonly abbreviated as the CRC, CROC, or UNCRC).

Anyone who sees the deplorable conditions in which over 90% of children in the world are living, supports these principles.

This editorial is either clueless or fanatic, or both.

Salt Lake City, UT

@Wilf 55 and @Esquire, I just did a search on this bill and found that it is not just the extreme right-wing Christian groups that are concerned. While I myself don't agree with government having as big a role as Wilf 55 thinks is proper, according to what I read, there are many who liked all the provisions listed by Wilf 55, but are concerned about the "named guardian" for each and every child in Scotland who would have access to any and all police and health records of the family of each child and be able to intervene if they deemed it appropriate.

Now if you could guarantee that the "named guardian" agreed with you on your parenting skills and philosophy maybe you would welcome the "free" advice. But what if the named guardian for your child had differing opinions about the correct way to raise your child and reported you each time they saw something they were concerned with, would you still see it as a blessing? What if that guardian felt that right-wing Christian values were the best and reported you for being too permissive, would you still agree that the state knows best?

Samuel B Martineau
Bountiful, UT


I am noting that you have sidestepped the issue of the named guardian. The editorial already said that there were laudable parts of the bill, which is all you have pointed out. But the concern is specifically about a person outside of the family being named a guardian for children when there is no proof that parents have done anything wrong. Is the editorial incorrect that this is the case?

Tornado Mama
Dallas, TX

Parental rights are under attack. Legislation similar to that in Scotland is being proposed in US Congress right now-- United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

The CRPD would force the federal government to ensure that all decisions for children with disabilities are made in the best interests of the child. Basically, the CRPD will allow courts to treat all parents of children with disabilities as though they were abusive parents. Social workers will have the final say in decisions that should reside with parents.

But this isn't the only attack on parental rights. Here are just three examples:

David Parker, a father to a kindergartener in Massachusetts, was arrested in 2005 even after peacefully, patiently working with the school system to try to opt-out of the homosexual curricula taught to his son.

Justina Pettelier (16) and Sammy Nikolayev (5 months) were taken into Child Services when their loving parents sought a second medical opinion.

This legislation and current attacks on parental rights in America should be a warning sign to all who value the rights of parents to direct the upbringing of their children. That's why I support the Parental Rights Amendment.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

#1. I find it amazing that Esquire's comment (that he knows nothing about the bill but he's sure the editorial is an over-reaction) having more than twice as many "likes" than any other comment... is just amazing.

Guess it just shows there are a lot of ditto-heads out there who find it easier to just click "like" than to actually formulate a thoughtful comment of their own.

It's amazing when a comment that you don't know anything... gets so many likes.


I agree that the "War on the Family" is just like the rest of the wars out there... the war on women, war on immigrants, war on whatever group you can think of (to make them upset and get their vote)... is pretty much an over-reaction to get printed, or to start contention, and get people riled up.

Back in my day the highly hyped attack-on-family was the "test-tube-baby". Everybody said it would make fathers irrelevant... but it hasn't.

Same with this... it probably won't change or threaten anything.

We already have States that over-step their bounds. Out of words. To be continued...

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

... Continued...

Remember the parents in Utah convicted of kidnapping... for taking their son out of the State when the State was going to take their son from them, and force him to have Chemo he didn't actually need (because the parents had disobeyed a doctor's order)?

Remember the treatment of the children of FLDS families in Texas... all because of a prank phone call from a lady in Denver pretending she was an abused child?

The case of the family in Boston is also very compelling (Google it and read about it if you're not up on it).

The point is... The State can over-step (and the often does).... but it doesn't kill the family, and the family isn't under attack. They are just well-meaning people, doing what they think is best. People with a little government power often run amock, but it's not a war on anybody.

The main thing to take from this is... no matter what they do... the family is still the fundamental unit of society.

That hasn't changed. Not even with all these abuses. And it won't change. If we individually don't let it.

Wilf 55

I agree that legislation can have downsides if ill implemented or misused by some. That can be the case when the government expands its authority. But the basic idea of a "national guardian" in Scotland (wrong word, gives Big Brother impression) is clearly to avoid or reduce the many tragedies that can touch children: 50% of parents divorce, with all the drama for kinds, and often each parent trying to win the child for him/herself; there is physical and sexual abuse (most frequent within families and insiders); there is hidden poverty and children may go hungry or not get proper schooling, and so on. For a child to know there is a specific person to turn to in confidence is an unmistakable advantage.

If all parents would behave well, be responsible, and have sufficient means, there would be no need for a "guardian angel" (better word).

So this DN editorial should not immediately condemn this bill (which contains much much more than the guardian issue) under the false pretense that it is undermining "the family as fundamental unit". That is cheap rhetoric with another agenda in the background.

Huntsville, UT

Christians fear that this bill could take children away from Christian homes, but I could easily see Christians taking children away from Muslim parents because of the "deleterious" affect that Islam may have on the child. Look what they did to Native American children in years past. Christians are ALWAYS butting into everyone elses business and trying to make their own faith the only faith.

Springville, UT

@ 2 bits, my point was that the editorial was an overreaction. Based on what I've read, I stand by that. I'm not a knee-jerk reactionary and have learned that a lot of stuff put out there is an overreaction. There is usually more to the story than presented in the editorial, and that seems to hold true. Do you like overreactions instead of reasoned, fully-vetted, discussions? It's a fair question.

St Louis, MO

Whenever I hear someone start talking about a "War on _____," I immediately tune out. Such a person is not interested in actually discussing a matter practically and rationally; they only want to inflame or dig in their heels.

All of Tornado Mama's examples are suitably alarming on the surface, but (1) we don't know all the details of each case, and (2) of all the cases that Child Welfare investigates and intervenes, these are a drop in the bucket. With the size of the popluation we're talking about, exceptions are unavoidable. Of course there are going to be a few unfortunate cases of overreach. These are the ones you read about, not the thousands of cases that are handled with sensitivity and logic.

The alarmism is, in this case, just another "slippery-slope" argument, which you can make when discussing virtually every law on the books. I think everyone would agree that there ARE cases when the state should step in to protect a child from its parents' "relgion." Should JW parents be allowed to deny their kids life-saving transfusions? I say no.

Salt Lake City, UT

As is often the case, whether this bill is good or bad or something in between depends on how it is implemented. I'm all for protecting parental rights, but the state has a responsibility to defend the defenseless.

Provo, UT

"...concerned about the 'named guardian' for each and every child in Scotland who would have access to any and all police and health records of the family of each child..."

The Parents are the "named guardians" of their children, just as we are here in the US. Only when parents are found to be unfit due to abusing their responsibilities as parents is a non-parent named as "named guardian" - just as we do here in the US.

Bishops and Stake Presidents in the Church are required by law to report child abuse to the proper authorities here in the US and in most countries elsewhere. Does that threaten the rights and responsibilities of "the traditional family"?

LDS Family Services is involved in child custody cases, adoptions, and various family challenges where they have to mediate between parents, the rights of children, guardians (including a "guardian ad litem" in some cases). Does that cast doubt on the role of family as fundamental to society?

Just because family is fundamental to society does not give parents carte blanche power and authority over children, nor does it render children non-entities with no rights.

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