Petition calls for regulation of non-statutory child advocacy services
A petition lodged at Holyrood calls for an assurance from the Scottish government that non-statutory child advocacy services are properly regulated to ensure competence, transparency and accountability.
Petitioners Martin Baker and Katherine Bailey write: “We believe any non-statutory child advocacy services that engage with a child who is involved in court proceedings, specifically those who may be made subject to an order under section 11(1) of the Children (Scotland) Act, must be regulated.”
Section 11(1) of the Children (Scotland) Act relates to parental responsibilities of a child and allows for an order to be made depriving a person of some or all of their parental responsibilities or parental rights in relation to a child.
The intervention of a child advocacy service can cause devastating emotional and wellbeing effects. Many have been the victim of unregulated and unaccountable interference in family life, often on the basis of unfounded or entirely false allegations.
Ian Maxwell, national manager of Shared Parenting Scotland, said: “We support the objective of the petitioners in bringing to light a practice that currently takes place without transparency, oversight or accountability and which can in some cases damage the children it purports to help and their most important family relationships.
“We don’t see how work with children who have genuinely been affected by domestic abuse will be harmed by opening the activities of people working with children as young as 4 years old to the daylight of independent scrutiny.”