By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay
Unmarried fathers will be offered full parental
A clause in the adoption and children bill, which received its
second reading in Parliament yesterday, will give unmarried fathers
who register their children’s birth jointly with the mother,
full parental rights.
Married father automatically have a say in their child’s
upbringing and the reform will give unmarried fathers the same
Currently, if parents are unmarried, the mother is treated as
the child’s sole parent and fathers can only obtain rights
through a parental responsibility order by the court or written
agreement with the mother that is registered in court.
Ministers believe the distinction is now out of date.
Jane Kennedy, minister in the Lord Chancellor’s
Department, said: “I am pleased to bring about this long needed
Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 27 March page 7
Bill will benefit children in care
The adoption of children in care will be encouraged in the
overhaul of the country’s adoption procedures.
One of the measures in the Children and Adoption Bill, which
cleared its first hurdle in the House of Commons yesterday, will be
to set up a national adoption register to reduce delays for
adopters and children waiting for adoption.
Health minister John Hutton said during the Bill’s second
reading: “We are laying the foundation for a better future for
thousands of young people in care.”
He continued: “The government firmly believes that adoption can
often be the best solution for a child in care, who is unable to
return to their birth family.”
There is a clause in the bill that states that people who adopt
children from abroad without approval from authorities in England
and Wales, could be sent to prison, from next month.
The government “fast tracked” a section of the Adoption
Inter-country Aspects Act of 1999, which is set to be implemented
by the end of the year, after the “internet twins” adoption case
involving Judith and Alan Kilshaw.
Source:- Daily Telegraph Tuesday 27 March page 11
Elderly promised equality in NHS
Care standards for pensioners to be published today, will give
older people equality in the NHS and social services.
Age discrimination in the NHS will be “rooted out” and ageist
policies will be banned through ‘The National Service
Framework for Older People’.
Health secretary Alan Milburn will announce the framework, which
is backed by specific funding and will raise the number of
operations for the over 65s.
The first new standard says: “NHS services will be provided
regardless of age on the basis of clinical need alone. Social care
services will not use age in their eligibility criteria or policies
to restrict access to available services.”
By October all NHS departments will carry out assessments of
their policies regarding the treatment of older people to ensure no
decision is made on the basis of age.
Sources close to health ministers claim the framework represents
a cultural shift in health and social services providers.
Source:- Daily Telegraph Tuesday 27 March page 1
Straw hires aircraft to send back refugees
Thousands of failed asylum seekers will be flown out of Britain
against their will in chartered aircraft in a secret programme
under the home secretary.
The move is part of the government’s “big push” to remove
30,000 asylum seekers by the end of the year, and is the first time
that immigrants have been forcibly removed en masse by
The aircraft was due to leave Stansted airport in Essex this
morning at 9am bound for Pristina, the biggest city in Kosovo. Last
Tuesday, a similar aircraft was used to fly around 50 failed asylum
seekers to Tirana in Albania and Pristina. Around half the
passengers were removed against their wishes.
A home office source said: “This is something on which we can
make considerable savings. It’s cheaper to charter a plane
than keep people in detention centres for a month or two.”
Source:- The Independent Tuesday 27 March page 2
Blair ‘has failed to help
Tony Blair has failed in his aim to improve the position of
ethnic minorities, according to multi-cultural campaigners.
The European Multicultural Foundation, which has been surveying
opinion on government policy among ethnic minority leaders, claims
the prime minister has failed to “tackle the underlying causes of
Tara Mukherjee, chairman of the EMC, is to meet cabinet office
officials next month to demand greater government action with the
creation of a cabinet post with responsibility for ethnic affairs,
and a department for social exclusion to tackle poverty in ethnic
Source:- The Independent Tuesday 27/3/01 page
Jail for two who stole from charity
Two trustees of a children’s cancer charity were jailed
for theft yesterday having stolen nearly £250,000 of street
Deborah Munro and Ian Dyke organised a collection of money for
the Hands of Hope Children’s Cancer Fund, but only
£5,000 went to cancer relief.
Munro was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison, to run
concurrently for each of three charges of theft. Dyke was sentenced
to 15 months after being found guilty of one count of theft.
Nigel Daly for the prosecution told the court: “This is not a
charity, it was a business of ripping off the public who wanted to
give to a children’s cancer charity.”
Source:- The Independent Tuesday 27 March page
Five star rating plan for nurseries
Stars for quality will be given to playgroups and nurseries,
under a scheme launched by the prime minister yesterday.
Providers of childcare and early education will be rated on
their facilities and quality of service under the “Investors bin
Children” scheme. They will be able to display a sign demonstrating
their rating out of five.
Nurseries and childminders will be inspected by the office for
standards in education in September.
Blair also announced that £19 million would be spent on
helping nurseries expand on the services they offer.
Source:- The Times Tuesday 27 March page 2
Transsexual was killed and set adrift on
A man killed his brother in law then tried to dispose of the
body by floating it out to sea on an airbed, a court heard
Charles Halfacree admitted manslaughter, preventing the lawful
burial of a body and conspiring to pervert the court of justice. He
was sentenced to four years and three months by Mr Justice
Godfrey Carey QC for the prosecution said that Halfacree had
been at odds with his sister and Bryan Hooley over the way they
were bringing up their nine-year-old daughter. Social services
became involved and made him the child’s foster parent.
Halfacree got into an argument with transsexual Hooley over his
visits to the girl and pushed him to the floor. Hooley who had
undergone a sex-change operation in 1993 injured his head and
Halfacree tied the body in chains and padlocks and weighed it
down with dumbbells before pushing it out to sea on an airbed at
He thought it would vanish in the sea but it was washed up at
Kessingland in Suffolk where police thought it to be the body of a
woman. Officers spent days trying to establish the identity,
Norwich crown court was told.
Blofeld said that the “bizarre lengths” to which he had gone to
conceal the killing were “repugnant to all right thinking
Source:- The Times Tuesday 27 March page 3
Court forced to release paedophile
A sheriff launched a scathing attack on the crown office
yesterday accusing it of giving him no option, but to release a
convicted paedophile back into the community.
At Perth sheriff court, Sheriff Graeme Warner found George Watt
guilty of sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl. Watt has 15 similar
The crown had brought the case on a summary complaint rather
than on an indictment before a jury, Sheriff Warner was limited to
imposing a maximum sentence of three months. The sheriff stated
this was not long enough to treat Watt and instead placed him on
three years’ probation, 240 hours community service, placed
him on the sex offenders’ register and banned him from being
alone with children.
Margaret McKay, chief executive of Children 1st, the
child protection organisation, said it sent out an ambiguous
message to children and added: “Young people who have been abused
are being sent a message that there is confusion and uncertainty
about the best way forward in courts.”
Source The Herald Tuesday 27 March page 10
Hepatitis C victims put executive under
Susan Deacon, health minister, came under intense pressure to
compensate Scots who contracted hepatitis C through transfusions of
contaminated blood following a historic legal ruling in
At the high court in London yesterday, Mr Justice Burton granted
compensation and legal costs to 114 sufferers from England and
Wales in the first mass civil action of its kind to link the rights
of consumers to medical treatment. In six leading cases awards were
made ranging from £10,000 to £210,000 plus legal costs in
a guideline decision likely to cost the state around £7
Last year, after an 18-month inquiry, the Scottish executive
issued a report recommending no action described by John McAughey,
a haemophiliac and hepatitis C sufferer from Perth, as “nothing
more than a whitewash”. As long ago as 1986, the government was
aware that people were being infected with hepatitis C as a result
of blood transfusions.
In Scotland, some 317 sufferers have tried to raise claims
unsuccessfully so far. Malcolm Chisholm, deputy minister for
community care, yesterday conceded that the Scottish executive
would now have to give “careful consideration” to the issue of
Source The Scotsman Tuesday 27 March page 1