A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

New jail ships as Blunkett runs out of

Three prison ships will be introduced in a bid to ease the
accommodation crisis blamed for riots in three jails this week.

Prison Service officials have made enquiries about hiring
vessels as part of a package of emergency measures. They would hold
500 low risk convicts and be moored at ports.

One prison ship, the Wheare at Portland in Dorset, is already in

Senior prison officials are also looking at vacant defence
ministry sites after it was predicted the prison population could
reach 72,000 by the end of the month.

The director general of the prison Service Martin Narey is now
holding urgent talks with the home secretary about how the service
can cope with the increase.

The overcrowding has also been blamed for three separate
disturbances at Category C jails by governors.

Source:- The Times Thursday 9 May page 1

HIV girl is taken into care at airport

A three-year-old girl, whose father is preventing her from
treatment for HIV, was taken into care yesterday when she flew to
Britain from Australia with him.

The girl was taken to hospital to be examined by doctors, who
will decide whether to recommend anti-retroviral drugs. Her father,
an alternative health practitioner from north west London, objects
to the treatment.

They were met by two high court officers and police at Heathrow
airport yesterday. The girl was taken into care, but her father was
not arrested although he could eventually be prosecuted for defying
a high court order.

The father, his daughter and the girl’s mother fled
Britain in 1999 in defiance of a court ruling that the girl should
be tested for HIV after the mother, who was HIV positive refused to
stop breast feeding her.

After the mother died last October, the girl was taken into
custody in Melbourne and a doctor confirmed the child had HIV.

After moves were made to take the girl into care in the state of
Victoria, where they had been living in hiding, the father
disappeared with her again. Police found them in Sydney last week,
and an Australian judge ordered the girl to be taken into care
while arrangements were made to return them to Britain.

The girl has now been made ward of court in accordance with the
order, and her future will be decided by the court, a spokesperson
for the Lord Chancellor’s department said.

Source:- The Times Thursday 9 May page 5

Asylum seeking mother to fight for milk

An HIV positive asylum seeker with a month-old baby won the go
ahead yesterday to bring a high court test case alleging the
government’s refusal to provide milk tokens to asylum seekers
endangers the child’s right to life.

The Ethiopian woman won an expedited hearing to argue that in
failing to provide her with the tokens, the government was
breaching the European convention on human rights.

The case is expected to be heard in the next two months.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 9 May page 11

Tories and Christian groups fight plan to allow gays to

Christian groups, Tory peers and pro-marriage campaigners are to
use the House of Commons to obstruct plans to allow unmarried and
gay couples to jointly adopt children.

Tory peer Baroness Young is preparing to oppose a change in law
designed to find more “loving and permanent homes” for children in

The Christian Institute has begun lobbying peers to vote against
amendments that would give gays and unmarried couples the right to

Health secretary Alan Milburn announced on Tuesday that he would
give MPs a free vote on amendments to the Adoption and Children

It has been welcomed by children’s groups, Labour and
Liberal MPs and family lawyers who say it will help the 60,000
children in local authority care.

Source:- The Independent Thursday 9 May page

Legal aid for asylum seekers doubles

Legal aid bills for asylum seekers have more than doubled in two
years, it emerged yesterday.

Illegal immigrants seeking refuge ran up a bill of £129
million last year, the government said. This is an increase of 111
per cent since 1999/2000.

The soaring cost comes despite a fall in the number of asylum
applications during last year.

Experts said the contradiction was explained by a big rise in
the number of cases decided and turned down.

Source:- Daily Mail Thursday 9 May page 1

Scottish newspapers

Scots worry less about crime

People in England are more likely to be worried about crime than
Scots according to the latest Scottish Crime Survey.

The survey indicates that those living in England are 40 per
cent more likely to have been victim of a crime than those in

The results show that Scots are less concerned about crime than
they have been since the surveys were started over 20 years ago.
The opposite trend is evident in England, and the gap between the
two countries’ attitudes towards crime is growing wider.

Source:- The Scotsman Thursday 9 May page 4

New law to fight trade in sex slaves

Trafficking women and children who end up as unpaid slaves in
the sex market is to be outlawed in Scotland, the Scottish
executive has announced.

An amendment to the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act, currently
before parliament, has been tabled to make human trafficking
illegal. The move follows reports that trafficked women make up 70
per cent of those working as street prostitutes and in saunas in
London, and increasing evidence of a similar situation in Glasgow
and Edinburgh.

Source:- The Herald Thursday 9 May page 10

Welsh newspapers

Custody won’t work for ‘one-boy

The 11-year-old boy dubbed Britain’s worst car thief would
not benefit from detention, according to a leading expert on youth

The boy from Cardiff has committed a catalogue of crimes, but
because he is under 12 the courts have been unable to give him a
custodial sentence. Keith Towler, director of crime reduction at
NACRO, described the boy’s record as
‘remarkable’, but added that detention would not
necessarily stop him committing more offences.

“Research has shown that sending young people to detention and
training centers often does not help them to change their
behaviour,” he said.

The boy, who suffers from attention deficit disorder, will be 12
on Friday.

Earlier this week, he was given a three-year supervision order
by a youth court in Cardiff, and Judge Gerwyn Watkins said that had
he been a few days older he would have been sentenced to detention.
He has recently been placed with foster parents in the south Wales
valleys and has not re-offended since April 2.

Source:- South Wales Echo Wednesday May 8 page 2

AM slams teen star’s ‘sexual

Children’s commissioner for Wales Peter Clarke has been
urged to investigate the decision to name 16-year-old Welsh singing
star, Charlotte Church ‘rear of the year’.

Deputy education minister in the Welsh assembly Alun Pugh has
asked the commissioner to intervene because he is concerned about
the use of schoolchildren in sexually explicit promotions.

His concern was echoed by first minister Rhodri Morgan who said
that show business should look at the way it conducts itself on the
dividing line between childhood and adulthood, to make sure
children are not exploited.

Source:- South Wales Echo Wednesday May 8 page 4









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