A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

Adoption hope for gay couples

Ministers in favour of giving unmarried and same-sex couples the right to adopt appear poised to win the argument.

A final decision will be taken after MPs return from their Easter break, but last night there was renewed optimism that all barriers to adoption would be removed.

A cross-party group of backbenchers is to table amendments to a government bill, opening up adoption to all couples in "stable and committed" relationships. More than 130 MPs are backing the call.

Source: The Guardian Friday 15 March page 12

Social services call for legal reforms to avoid repeat of Climbie murder

The second stage of a public inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbie opens today with a warning that 10,000 privately fostered children are at risk from inadequate protection under the law.

Social services chiefs called for legislation requiring parents and foster carers to notify the local authority whenever a child is privately fostered or brought into Britain by anyone other than a birth parent.

Source: The Guardian Friday 15 March page 15

Court rebukes UK over prison death

The police and prison service were severely criticised by a European court yesterday over the treatment of a mentally ill man who was kicked to death by a schizophrenic cellmate.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled that Britain had breached the Human Rights Convention on four counts relating to Christopher Edwards. Edwards, 30, was killed by Richard Linford, who had history of violence, in Chelmsford prison 1994.

The court ruled that the authorities not only failed to protect the life of Edwards, but failed to investigate thoroughly or give his family proper access to open and rigorous inquiries and a remedy in the courts.

Source: The Independent Friday 15 March page 12

Scottish and Welsh papers

Campaigners to target detention centre

Campaigners are gearing up for a demonstration outside Scotland’s only detention centre for asylum seekers, Dungavel in Lanarkshire.  

Billed as 1,000 Welcomes to Refugees, the campaign hopes to draw public attention to government policy of detaining people who have committed no crime. Robina Qureshi, director of Positive Action in Housing – one of the organising groups, also called for action on the Garza family who are due to be returned to Romania after fleeing there to escape from racist gangs.

The Garzas were due to be deported today but the Home Office has allowed a postponement to reconsider their case.

Source: The Scotsman Friday 15 March page 10  

Council workers to strike in support of sacked whistleblower

Council workers in Cardiff are poised to strike in support of a social worker who was allegedly sacked for warning that children in care were being neglected.

Union chiefs from Cardiff’s Unison branch are now urging that their 3,204 members take part in a one-day strike planned for March 28 which is timed to coincide with the next meeting of the council’s scrutiny committee.

Charles Faber, the senior social worker at the heart of the dispute, appeared on a TV documentary last year highlighting his concerns over children’s services in Cardiff and was suspended shortly afterwards. He lost his appeal against sacking earlier this week.

Source: Western Mail Friday 15 March page 5

Kilshaws make charity record

Alan and Judith Kilshaw, the couple at the centre of the internet adoption row, are to release a charity single.

The couple who caused a furore when they tried to adopt twin baby girls from the USA over the internet, are both to sing on the record which is being made to raise money for Wrexham Football Club.

Source: Western Mail  Friday 15 March page 5

Investigation into homes

Opposition politicians have welcomed the launch of an investigation into the care provided at 10 residential homes for the elderly in South Wales.

Welsh assembly minister for health and social services, Jane Hutt, made the announcement following concerns first raised about Hazelcroft residential home in Cardiff, which has been the subject of hundreds of complaints and received a critical joint inspection report.

The social services inspectorate for Wales (SSIW) is now to examine arrangements between Hafod housing association which owned Hazelcroft and Cardiff Council who managed staff there. The SSIW will also look at similar arrangements between Hafod and the council at seven other Cardiff homes and at two homes run by Hafod and the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

Source: South Wales Echo Thursday March 14 page 23

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