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Last Updated: Friday, 3 December, 2004, 11:57 GMT
Failing parents face court orders
Parenting class
Parents can be ordered to undergo counselling
Parents who fail in their responsibilities are to be forced to attend counselling sessions and could face prison.

The education minister said a parenting order pilot scheme will get under way in Scotland next April.

Peter Peacock said the aim was to encourage parents to accept help and support.

The system will be enforced by the threat of fines, supervised attendance orders and even imprisonment.

Research shows that children are twice as likely to offend if they have low or medium levels of parental supervision.

Parenting orders will force parents who have deliberately or recklessly failed their children to accept support if they have not taken it on voluntarily.

What parenting orders will do is compel parents to accept help and support
Peter Peacock
Education Minister
Councils and children's panel reporters will have the power to apply for orders under the Anti-social Behaviour (Scotland) Act, which would be granted by sheriffs.

Mr Peacock said poor parenting was known to be a major factor in youth offending because a lack of parental supervision meant children were more likely to commit crime.

He said: "However, we know that most parents want to do the best for their children and we will support them in their efforts.

"We will provide 2m a year of anti-social behaviour funding to help local authorities improve and expand their support services for parents and their families."

Mr Peacock stressed the orders, which last for a year unless extended, were not designed to penalise parents who accepted their shortcomings or punish them for their children's offences.

"What parenting orders will do is compel parents to accept help and support, in a bid to equip them with the skills they need to adequately care for and supervise their children," he said.

The pilot scheme will run for three years.


SEE ALSO:
Disorder bill passed by Holyrood
17 Jun 04 |  Scotland
Union wants pupils' parents fined
10 Jun 04 |  Scotland
Parental anger management plan
25 Apr 04 |  Scotland
Fixed penalty truancy fines begin
27 Feb 04 |  Education
Unruly behaviour plans backed
05 Mar 04 |  Scotland


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