Monday 5 April 2004

By Natasha Salari, Amy Taylor, Clare Jerrom and Alex

Courts to become last resort for parents
Plans to make court the last resort for parents fighting over
contact with children will be brought forward this summer, the
minister for families has said.
Lord Filkin outlined measures that will make it likely that legal
aid for courtroom fights over contact will be harder to obtain
except in the most intractable cases. Public funds will instead go
towards helping parents agree parenting arrangements.
He has promised that a green paper which would set out a range of
options aimed at diverting parents from court battles and
encouraging them to agree parenting plans through mediation.
Source:- The Times Saturday 3 April page 4
Abductor of girl, 12, jailed
The former US marine who sparked an international manhunt when he
fled across Europe with a young English girl he met on the
internet, has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.
At a previous hearing, Toby Studabaker had admitted abduction and
incitement to gross indecency. He attempted to change the guilty
pleas to not guilty at Manchester crown court, but the application
was unsuccessful.
His 12-year-old victim went missing in July 2003 after she told her
parents she was going shopping with friends, but she had met
Studabaker at Manchester airport and travelled on to London and
Paris with him. The pair then went to Strasbourg and Stuttgart,
where Studabaker eventually handed himself into the
Source:- The Guardian Saturday 3 April page 7
Warning over child medicines
The government has rebuked drug companies for failing to take all
steps to protect the health of children who take medicines.
Very few medicines given to children have a licence for their use
and doctors find themselves having to prescribe smaller doses of
adult medicines because clinical trials have not been done with
Health minister Lord Warner told the annual dinner of the
Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry that this was no
longer good enough.
Source:- The Guardian Saturday 3 April page 7
Sixty reasons why Britain needs immigrants
Next month’s expansion of the EU will see scores of young highly
educated Poles arriving in Britain to do jobs we don’t want to do.
Jeremy Laurence went to Krakow to meet the workers who could
transform our care homes
Source:- The Independent 3 April Saturday page 22
Seven held after ‘abducted’ sisters found safe and

Two girls who were alleged to have been abducted from their foster
parents at knifepoint were found safe and well.
Salina Hafeez, aged five, and Sarah, aged three, were found in a
house in Middlesbrough. Their mother Shanaz Hafeez was with them.
She and six other people have been arrested in connection with the
alleged abduction.
Source:- The Independent Saturday 3 April page 27
New migrant crisis hits Blunkett
Home secretary David Blunkett is facing a fresh crisis over
government attempts to manipulate figures for asylum seekers in
Leaked home office e-mails revealed that the former immigration
minister, Beverley Hughes’s office ordered staff to avoid
arresting illegal immigrants. Some would have been suspected
A number of new civil service whistleblowers have come forward to
confirm that the government’s pledge to reduce the number of
asylum seekers by half, was partly achieved by allowing illegal
immigrants to stay at liberty.
Source:- The Sunday Times 4 April page 1
Coming or going?
Last month it was revealed that the government was ushering
thousands of migrants into Britain without checks; last week, after
much bluster, the minister responsible resigned.
Source:- The Sunday Times 4 April page 13, 14, 15
Human cost of MMR scare
Two boys have been left permanently disabled as a result of the MMR
vaccine scare.
The boys, who have been left mentally and physically impaired after
contracting measles, are the first known victims of the scare in
The boys’ doctors blame the now discredited research of Dr
Andrew Wakefield for the boys’ condition. They say his claim
that MMR could cause autism led to the outbreak because fewer
children are being vaccinated.
Matthew Costen, aged 13, was blinded and paralysed after
contracting measles last year. He is thought to have caught the
disease from his friend Joe Quick, aged nine, who suffered partial
paralysis to his left side and damage to his speech.
Source:- The Sunday Times 4 April page 1
Pensioners’ £100 rebate delayed
A government oversight is threatening to delay the £100 bonus
announced in the budget to help older people with their council tax
Ministers have found out that to pay the money to the estimated
seven million people over 70 they will have to pass an act of
parliament authorising the payments.
There are only 10 working parliamentary weeks to get the new act on
the statute book before the autumn.
Source:- The Sunday Times 4 April page 2
Girl, 18, may bear mother’s baby
A teenager has offered to carry her mother’s child in a
surrogacy arrangement.
Nicola Hunter, aged 18, who has one child, made the offer after her
mother Celena Anderson, aged 37, from Edinburgh, miscarried twice
while trying to conceive with her second husband.
Anderson, who has four children from a previous marriage, has
contacted the support organisation, Surrogacy UK, for advice.
Source:- The Sunday Times 4 April page 3
Bulldozer demolishes house where Huntley killed

The house where Ian Huntley murdered school girls Jessica Chapman
and Holly Wells was demolished last weekend.
5 College Close in Soham was demolished to prevent it becoming a
constant reminder of the girls’ deaths.
Source: The Observer Sunday 4 April page 5
‘Granny leave’ plan for employees
Employees who have to care for their elderly parents could
receive rights to request to part-time work or flexible hours under
new government plans.
Fathers could also get more highly paid paternity leave and the
right to up to six months off after a baby is born. Periods of
leave currently available to either parent could be made only
available for men in an aim to show that fathers are
Source:- The Observer Sunday 4 April page 6
Concern at website that ‘monitors

A website that claims to monitor paedophiles in internet chatrooms
has come under attack from children’s charities who believe
it could inspire vigilantism and put children in danger.
ChatNannies offers a confidential e-mail service where paedophiles
can ask for help which states: “We do not judge you. But if
you don’t seek help, we will catch you… it’s not
your fault you feel this way… but if you don’t act you
won’t be the only one hurting.”
The website, launched a month ago by Jim and Eleanor Wightman from
Coven, near Wolverhampton, also recruits people to work as
“chatnannies” in chatrooms for young people. Mrs
Wightman said it was possible that there was a tiny proportion of
paedophiles among the 6,000 volunteers she claimed she had already
registered as chatnannies, but thought this would not put children
at risk.
Source:- The Guardian Monday 5 April page 7
Policy fuels teenage pregnancy
Government attempts to reduce the rate of teenage pregnancies and
sexually transmitted infections are backfiring, according to a new
Providing the morning-after pill free to teenagers and expanding
the number of contraceptive services have encouraged rather than
reduced their incidences.
The study, due to be presented to the Royal Economics
Society’s annual conference in Swansea, is based on data
collected by 95 health authorities between 1998 and 2001.
Source:- The Guardian Monday 5 April page 8
Blair calls summit on No 10’s immigration
A Downing Street summit on the government’s crisis
over immigration will consider if the problems have been caused
partly by Tony Blair’s target to cut asylum applications by
50 per cent.
Ministers have admitted his determination to cut the figures may
have inadvertently led to a relaxation of immigration rules.
Ministers believe senior managers at the Immigration and
Nationality Department “took their eye off the ball”
over the way the rules were implemented because the
government’s main focus was on asylum
Source:- The Independent Monday 5 April page 5
Fathers too scared to request flexible work

Fathers are not taking up their right to request flexible working
hours because they fear it will have a negative effect on their
career, the government admitted last night.
A survey of 3,500 parents published by the Department of Trade and
Industry found that only one in 10 of the men eligible had asked to
take up flexible working.
Source:- The Daily Telegraph 5 April Monday, page 5
Minister confirms ‘no limits’ policy on immigrants seeking
work in UK
Ministers have confirmed that they were imposing no limit
on the number of immigrants entering Britain to work.
Patricia Hewitt, the trade and industry secretary, said that more
immigrant workers were needed to plug the labour shortage.
Source:- The Daily Telegraph Monday 5 April page 2
Scottish newspapers
Café owner pleads not guilty to drugs charge

The man behind Scotland’s first cannabis café pleaded
not guilty to charges of allowing people to smoke the drug on his
premises on the day it opened.
Paul Stewart was arrested along with two other people after the
Purple Haze café in Leith was raided by police in
The plea was entered on Stewart’s behalf at Edinburgh sheriff
court, and the case was adjourned for trial on 28 July.
Source:- The Scotsman Saturday 3 April
Elite team to probe child abuse claims
An ‘elite team’ of social workers and child protection
specialists is to be set up in Edinburgh, it has emerged.
Eight new specialist child protection managers will work alongside
experienced Lothian and Borders officers to oversee the
investigation of abuse allegations and assess any immediate dangers
facing young people identified as at risk.
Managers from the health service, education and other agencies will
eventually share offices with the group.
Source:- Evening News Saturday 3 April
Five year jail sentence for man who scalded baby

A man who left a baby girl disfigured after he immersed her in
scalding bath water was yesterday jailed for five-and-a-half
Robert Smith pleaded guilty to a charge of wilfully ill-treating
the child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, in a manner
likely to cause her suffering or injury on 21 May 2001.
Source:- The Scotsman Saturday 3 April
Deaf pupils suffer as teachers work ‘with poor sign

Deaf children are having difficulties at school because they are
being taught by people with only basic sign language skills.
There are too few teachers and sign language interpreters qualified
enough to explain difficult subjects, according to the head of
Scotland’s leading deaf school.
Janet Allen, headteacher at Donaldson’s College in Edinburgh,
claims children are being taught by people with sign language at a
low-level standard grade,
Source:- The Scotsman Saturday 3 April
Executive flunks bid to beat childhood

The Scottish executive is likely to implement a recommendation from
its own report that all primary school pupils should get two hours
of PE per week to combat childhood obesity.
The physical education review group has called for changes to
curriculum guidelines for five to 14-year-olds that will ringfence
time for PE. The report is due to be published shortly.
But the ‘Sunday Herald’ has learned that the
recommendations will be passed by education minister Peter Peacock
into an overall education review being carried out under the
national education debate, which means a delay of at least two
Source:- Sunday Herald 4 April
Disabled people who live in fear of violence and

Thousands of disabled people in Scotland are falling victim to
bullying and violence, according to a survey.
Almost half of those who took part in the poll said they had been a
target of intimidation, verbal abuse, and physical attacks because
of their impairment.
Capability Scotland and the Disability Rights Commission Scotland
conducted the study to highlight the persistent misery caused by
the repeated intimidation of some people with disabilities.
Source:- The Herald  Monday 5 April
Migrant numbers bucking the trend
Some parts of the Highlands and Islands are now increasing their
population figures after decades of population decline.
The scenery and quieter way of life coupled with low crime rate,
relatively cheap property and the chance of finding work have
become increasingly attractive qualities to people wanting to move
to the areas.
The research was carried out for the Highlands and Islands
Enterprise by NFP World Group.
Source:- The Scotsman Monday 5 April
Prisoners to receive advice on drugs and free

Free condoms and advice on safer heroin use are to be given to
prisoners in Scotland’s jails under new measures, it emerged
A Scottish Prison Service working document proposes to encourage
prisoners to inhale or smoke drugs rather than inject.
Source:- The Scotsman Monday 5 April
Church sets up Mingo Foundation to oversee

The Catholic Church’s Glasgow archdiocese has created a
foundation to oversee the community care it has provided for more
than 100 years.
The Mungo Foundation will assume responsibility for the 35 projects
previously run by the archdiocese.
Archbishop Mario Conti decided to establish the company following
consultations last year, and the new foundation will continue to
work closely with local authorities, social work departments,
housing associations and health boards.
Source:- The Herald Monday 5 April
Welsh newspapers
What’s your child reading?

Teen magazines can be emotionally harmful to children say
They claim that children’s education and behaviour are
suffering because of the content of the magazines, and are calling
for a certification system, so that parents are clear about what
their children are reading.
Ralph Surmon of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said
that some of the material in the magazines glamorised sexual
behaviour and sensationalises sexual topics.
Source:- Western Mail Monday 5 April page 3
Put dads on the agenda
A half-page feature that examines the need for a more
father-friendly Britain.
Fathers Direct is to launch an employer-led charter that will help
to acknowledge the important role that fathers play in family life.
Duncan Fisher, the centre’s director, explains why the
charter is needed, and why it is important that the role of fathers
is recognised.
Source:- Western Mail Monday 5 April page 10

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.