Read what other bloggers have to say about the UK Children's Database and the related issue of state intrusion into family life. On the evidence below, it is easy to suspect that US bloggers are seeing the situation more clearly than we do here in the UK, where some of us seem to be falling for the line that the database will prevent child abuse (when there is a huge shortfall of social workers) and that the governments targets for our children, ie: that our kids should
* to Be Healthy,* Stay Safe,* Enjoy and Achieve,* Make A Positive Contribution* Have Economic Well Being
will not result in a lowering of the level at which the state imagines that it has a right to intrude into family life.
Over the last few days alone, we have heard of families in the UK being referred to and, very sadly, being investigated by social services for not taking their children on enough field trips, or for not wanting to see a health visitor (this mum already had four kids and was a nurse herself), or for having their curtains closed during the day.
Of course, UK home educators have long suffered the consequences of misunderstandings by neighbours and tittle-tattle that gets reported to the authorities as fact. But it looks to be getting worse because it isn't now a question of leaving families be if they look to be getting by, the various agents of the state must now make sure that our children achieve, that they are enjoying life, that they are making a positive contribution.
And not only has the level of suspicion mandating investigation been lowered, but professionals are now no longer allowed to keep some quite possibly ill-founded suspicion to themselves. Gone are the days when you could imagine that you could confide in your doctor, get the treatment you needed and walk out without further consequences, such as that everyone in the rest of the professional bodies in your area will get to know your business.
My guess is that when people come to understand the consequences of the enforced requirement upon professionals to report concerns, the relationship between the two groups will break down. How many mums, for example, would report their post-natal depression when they realise what implications it is likely have? I say honestly here, if my GP fondly imagines that I will ever talk frankly to him again, he is sadly misguided and I also believe that all parents would be wise to take the precaution of watching what they say in this situation.
And for yet another reason for increasing interference by the state, we have, of course, the database which, if it works, will mean that all home educators will be known about. With such a low bar of suspicion, home education will doubtless work as a prima facie reason for investigation.
There really is no escape. I do mourn the passing of HE as we have known it. My children have thrived on it so far. I watched them last night in the garden as the skies darkened, (near 22.30 and a good enough reason for SS to knock on my door), as they belted round it, getting me to time them, and then around an obstacle course they constructed. They are as brown as nuts, as wiry and fit as cheetahs. Dd runs like the wind. Ds laughed and called her Dash from the Incredibles because her leg speed is just so hysterically fast. He all gangly, perhaps more of a mid-distance runner. They are looking more and more alike all the time as Dd's face unfolds from the terrible battering she got when she tried to get into this world face first. They laughed and mucked about until nearly midnight, and I wouldn't have swapped it for anything.
Ah well, bring on Big Brother. I have clearly just signed away my rights to a private life free from state intrusion, but I will fight them tooth and nail when they get here.
The Black Kettle
Blood and Treasure
Boris Johnson MP
Bring It On
The Canadian Privacy Law Blog
The Devil's Kitchen
Finest Kind Clinic and Fish Market
From the Right Side
IT Law in Ireland
The Last Boy Scout
The Moderate Voice
Nanny Knows Best
Political Correctness Watch
Politics in the Zero
Stumbling and Mumbling
The Thomas Institute
A View From England