Tuesday 17 February 2004

By Natasha Salari, Clare Jerrom and Alex

New access plan for fathers

Divorced parents will be expected to agree parenting plans that
give them generous time to spend with their children, under new
government proposals.

The “early intervention” project, to be piloted this
year, aims to cut the number of bitter court battles over child
contact. Parents will be taught how to handle the problems of
post-divorce parenting and told about the psychological harm that
parenting battles, or being deprived of one parent, can do to their

Parents will be presented with a framework or plan for future
contact arrangements which they will be expected to comply

Source: The Guardian Tuesday 17 February page 2

Free fruit for poor children

Poorer families will receive free fruit and vegetables through a
voucher scheme announced by health secretary John Reid

The government plans to extend the welfare food scheme in the
battle against childhood obesity.

Families in England with children over one year old will receive
vouchers worth at least £2.80 a week, while children under one
will get £5.60. They will be able to exchange them for fruit
and vegetables at green grocers, supermarkets and other

Source: The Guardian Tuesday 17 February page 7

Thousands of jobcentre staff strike over

The biggest civil service strike for more than a decade began
yesterday with workers staging a 48-hour walkout in protest over

The Public and Commercial  Services union (PCS) estimated that
90,000 staff from the Department for Work and Pensions went out on
strike .

Source: The Guardian Tuesday 17 February page 8

The exile

A 13-year-old girl has been given one of the toughest
anti-social behaviour orders ever imposed.

The teenager has been banned from entering Leeds city centre or
from taking a bus anywhere in the city unless accompanied by a
parent or guardian.

She has also been barred from pulling a hooded top or scarf over
her head to hide her identity and from having any contact with
other members of the gang of 50 teenagers, which she led to
intimidate shoppers, workers and residents in the city.

Source: The Daily Mail Tuesday 17 February page 25

‘Alzheimer’ dogs on a diet have their day

Healthy eating could protect the human brain against
Alzheimer’s disease and other mental signs of ageing.

When beagle dogs were fed a cocktail of dietary supplements they
showed a significant improvement in a mental agility test in which
performance usually dips sharply with age.

The findings, from a study at the University of California at
Irvine, suggest that extra antioxidant compounds included in the
diet protect brain cells against damage from the ageing process of
a sort known as oxidative stress. The cocktail could potentially be
used to help stave off Alzheimer’s and other forms of
dementia in human beings.

Source: The Times Tuesday 17 February page 12

Public sector now biggest funder of

Charities in the UK have received more donations from the
government than from any other source for the first time.

A study to be published tomorrow shows that 37 per cent of
charities’ annual £20.8 billion income came from the
state in 2001-02, compared to just 4.3 per cent from the business

The expansion of charities into public services is part of the
government’s aim to use the local expertise of the voluntary

Source: The Financial Times Tuesday 17 February page

Savings must be ploughed back into services, warn

Local government ministers have come together to warn ministers
that Sir Peter Gershon’s efficiency review will fail unless
the savings that resulted were ploughed back into frontline

Gershon’s interim assessment focuses particularly on how
councils can come together to cut down the number of purchasers of
services such as street cleaning, housing maintenance and care home

It was inefficient to have 400 separate purchasing agencies in
local government, the report concluded.

Source: The Financial Times Tuesday 17 February page

Scottish newspapers

Does no one care if teenagers are taking to

Misuse of alcohol among teenagers is frequently failing to
register as an issue for parental concern despite the fact that
youngsters are starting to drink at younger ages when their brains
are still developing.

Parents fear their children becoming involved in illegal drugs,
unwanted pregnancy, bullying or internet-related crime, yet few
worry about the effects of misusing alcohol.

But according to the World Health Organisation, alcohol is now
the biggest killer of young European men.

Source:- The Scotsman Tuesday 17 February

Campaigners angry as independent study backing boot-camp

Campaigners are furious after it emerged that an independent
study that could have secured the future of a boot-camp for young
offenders has been scrapped just weeks before the findings were due
to be published.

The Scottish executive announced last week that it would no
longer be providing funding for the Airborne Initiative in

But campaigners are demanding to know whether ministers were
aware of the independent research before they took the decision to
close the unit.

Eleven of the country’s most persistent young offenders
are now back in the community following the decision to axe the
rehabilitation unit.

Source:- The Scotsman Tuesday 17 February

Scots nursery nurses vote for pay strike

Nursery nurses last night voted overwhelmingly to take
indefinite strike action over pay.

Last night public sector union, Unison, said the fact that 81
per cent of nursery nurses voted in favour of industrial action
indicated how strongly the workers felt about their pay, which has
not been reviewed for the last 15 years.

Source:- The Scotsman Tuesday 17 February

City’s child protection measures

Fifteen per cent of at-risk children in Edinburgh do not have
their own action plan, according to an internal investigation of
the city’s social work department.

The audit of the 319 children on Edinburgh’s child
protection register found that the department’s recording of
risk assessment, child protection planning and communication fell
below par.

The report was ordered after the independent inquiry criticised
Edinburgh’s child protection services following the murder of
Caleb Ness by his father Alexander in 2001.

Source:- The Scotsman Tuesday 17 February

Heroin addict wins £6k for falling

A drug addict has been awarded £6,000 in damages after
falling over in the street.

June Costley was awarded the compensation by a sheriff after it
emerged she had tripped over a four inch deep pothole and fractured
her knee.

Initially she had tried to sue Glasgow Council for £20,000
over the accident, but the council’s lawyers argued that they
were not responsible for her injuries because she tripped while
high on heroin.

Source:- Daily Record Tuesday 17 February page 7

Gangs I tried to help drove me out

A man who tried to improve his crime-ridden housing estate has
been forced out by the young people he was trying to help.

Andrew Pattison openly challenged groups of youths intimidating
neighbours on an estate in Broomhouse, Edinburgh and arranged
out-of-town trips for bored youngsters. But after five years of
trying to improve the area, Pattison has asked the local authority
to move him.

The grandfather claims the last straw was when his car window
was shattered just hours after he confronted a gang who were
kicking a neighbours’ door down.

Source:- Daily Record Tuesday 17 February page 17

Welsh newspapers

Needle attacker banned from school

A schoolboy from South Wales who allegedly attacked fellow
pupils with a needle has been excluded from school

Around 30 children at West Monmouth School, Pontypool had to
undergo blood tests for hepatitis B following the incident.

The school’s head-teacher said the Local Education
Authority will now look for alternative education for the
15-year-old boy.

Source:- South Wales Argus Monday 15 February page

£200,000 payout for social worker

A female social worker has been paid more than £200,000 in
compensation from her employers following a vicious assault
“which could have been avoided.”

The social worker was injured in June 1998 after being attacked
by a client in Swansea’s social services department. As a
result of the incident, she developed a serious psychological
condition and was unable to return to work.

Source:- Western Mail Tuesday 17 February page 3

Social work job applicant shocked over reference to
Soham case

A man who was as a child in a north Wales care home has spoken
of his shock at being bracketed with murderer Ian Huntley when he
applied for a job as a social worker.

Darren Laverty was offered a job with the Bryn Melyn Group that
runs children’s units in north Wales, but the offer was
withdrawn following concerns expressed by the Care Standards
Inspectorate for Wales.

Laverty said he fell into a life of crime after leaving care,
but he has no convictions on his record for the past 15 years and
none of his convictions relate to children.

Source:- Western Mail Tuesday 17 February page 5



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