A Named Person will be available to children and young people across Scotland from birth to age 18, or beyond if still in school.
This means a child, young person, parent, or someone who works with them, knows who they can approach for help or advice if they need it. A Named Person will normally be a health visitor for pre-school children and a head teacher, guidance teacher or other promoted member of staff for school aged children and young people.
The Named Person will work with children, young people and their parent(s) to get the help they need, when they need it.
A Named Person has a responsibility to respond to a request for help or a concern about a child’s or young person’s wellbeing but there is no requirement to take up the offer of advice or support. A Named Person does not replace or change the role of a parent or carer. The rights and responsibilities of parents to raise their children and provide for their wellbeing needs stay the same.
The Named Person service will help families and the services that support them to work in partnership.
A Named Person will be a clear point of contact available to parents, children and young people by law to make getting help and advice more straightforward and joined up. There is no obligation to take up the offer of advice or support. Named Persons have no new legal powers to compel parents, children or young people to accept advice, support or help.
Effective communication, including sharing relevant information where appropriate, is essential to ensure children, young people and families get the right help at the right time.
Every child’s needs and circumstances are unique and a Named Person will work with a child or young person and their parent(s) to offer the right advice and support. Information about their needs and circumstances may be shared with a Named Person if it’s relevant to understanding what help they may need and it supports their wellbeing, this will be done in discussion with the child and their parent(s), unless there is a child protection concern.
The new law makes good practice the national standard across Scotland to ensure that support is available to all if they need it.
The GIRFEC approach and the Named Person approach already operates in many parts of Scotland. The Named Person service builds on the supportive role teachers and health visitors have long offered to children and parents.
The Named Person is mainly provided by health and education services.
A Named Person will support specialist services, such as social work and mental health services, as they continue to respond to the needs of vulnerable children and families. A Named Person does not remove the responsibilities of others working with children, young people and families or change current child protection procedures. The police and or social work will continue to be contacted immediately if a child is believed to be at risk of significant harm.
The GIRFEC approach makes better use of available resources.
GIRFEC provides a common approach to thinking about wellbeing and co-ordinated planning. This helps to ensure that targeted support is provided where it’s required to help a child or young person.