A summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

Including Sunday’s headlines.

By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.

Fostering in crisis as children are left at risk in
unsafe homes

Britain’s most vulnerable youngsters are being put at risk
as a result of the national shortage of people wanting to foster

Local authorities are now desperate for people to support
families in crisis and work with frontline social services

The £2 million government funded recruitment campaign
launched by health secretary Alan Milburn last July, has failed to
attract the number of needed carers.

Only 1,000 people have applied to become foster parents, when
the required figure was closer to 7,000. The shortage has fuelled
fears that children’s lives are being put at risk by being
left in homes due to the lack of foster placements.

This week the NFCA launches its annual foster care fortnight,
but director Gerri McAndrew said a new approach to foster care may
be needed for the situation to change.

“We have a shortage because of a lack of awareness about what
fostering is and who can do it, also because people today lead very
busy lives and the structure of their lives is very different to
the past. People enjoy their leisure time more,” he said.

One suggestion for the future of social care is the development
of community fostering, according to McAndrew.

Several pilots are running where neighbours and friends of
troubled families are encouraged to care temporarily for children,
enabling them to stay in their own community and school.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 3 June 2001 page 9

Blair’s blueprint for new term with schools and
law shake up

The criminal justice system and secondary schools will undergo a
revolution and form part of the first Queen’s speech, if
Labour goes on to win a second term in power.

Tony Blair wants to blitz the two issues that most worry the
public. The Queen’s speech on 20 June will contain a short
health bill aimed at encouraging more reforms in hospitals.

The prime minister will announce a new ministry for work and the
family, which will take away responsibility from the department for
education and employment. The new ministry will absorb the
department for social security.

It is expected to be headed by Alistair Darling, and he will be
responsible for creating full employment, ending poverty for
pensioners and taking one million children out of poverty.

David Blunkett is expected to become home secretary, and he will
announce strong support for two major reports on crime and

Blunkett will support the Halliday report on early release for
prisoners, electronic tagging and better victim support schemes.
Repeat offenders will be given longer sentences.

It is expected he will support Lord Justice Auld’s report
on the criminal justice system, which will recommend all night
courts, particularly for drug offences.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 3 June 2001 page 2

UK matches Africa in crime surge

Violent crime in Britain is rising at the same rate as South
Africa, a government study has found.

In the UK, violent crime, including sexual assault and robbery,
rose by 16 per cent. South Africa and Slovenia experienced similar

There were 703,105 crimes recorded in England and Wales in 1999,
up from 605,797 the previous year, according to the report by the
International Comparison of Criminal Justice Statistics, published
by the home office.

Sexual offences rose by 4 per cent to 37,792 and robbery by 26
per cent to 84,277.

The home office has yet to publish crime figures for this year,
but a fortnight ago, Jack Straw warned that violent crime was
increasing by 27 per cent in some areas, although crime as a whole
had fallen.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 3 June 2001 page 11

The refugees who go home for a holiday

Some refugees in Britain are making a mockery of the asylum
system by jetting home for holidays in the countries they allegedly
fear persecution.

Check in staff at Gatwick and Heathrow airports have identified
huge numbers of refugees returning home with temporary travel

The largest group of asylum immigrants who are taking return
flights to countries they told officials they faced imprisonment,
persecution or death, are from Pakistan and Tamils from Sri

Heathrow staff have also identified a large number of people
from Kosovo flying back to the country’s capital.

A senior immigration source said: “Up to 100 Kosovo refugees are
taking the connection each week, but the temporary travel documents
are perfectly legal.”

The home office is now encouraging Bosnians and Kosovans to
return home because the government now feels it is safe.

Source:- Mail on Sunday Sunday 3 June 2001 page 25

Refugee alert as France leaves ports

British ports could face a wave of illegal immigrants seeking
new routes into the country.

The authorities’ success in stemming the flow of human
traffic on the “traditional” routes from Calais via the
cross-Channel ferries into Dover and the Channel Tunnel, has led to
unintended side effects on ports on the east and south coasts.

The French government could be making matters worse by cutting
back on border posts at small ports in northern France.

The home office realises that while security is tightening in
the traditional ways of entering Britain, asylum seekers are
exploring new ways of getting to Britain.

An official said the change of tactics presented a “new
challenge” to the Immigration Service, but denied the
service’s resources were being spread too thin.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Monday 4 June 2001 page 11

Dutch ship will offer the Irish abortion

A Dutch ship will offer terminations to Irish women this

The boat, equipped to carry out 20 abortions a day will dock at
Dublin and Cork, the first stops on a planned world tour of
countries where abortion is banned or dangerous.

The cargo ship has been kitted out as a health clinic and is
crewed by the Amsterdam based Women on Waves Foundation.

About 6,000 Irish women travel to Britain a year as abortion is
illegal in their country.

Rebecca Gomperts from Women on Waves believes the trauma
inflicted on to these women is unwarranted and hypocritical.

Dr Gomperts said: “As a doctor and a woman, I cannot stand by
and accept the unnecessary suffering of women.”

Source:- The Times Monday 4 June 2001 page 4

Sane rivals take over asylum debate

Medway MP Bob Marshall-Andrews accuses the Tories of distorting
a speech he made two years ago about the specific problems of
refugees fleeing “genocide” in Kosovo during the Balkans

Source:- The Times Monday 2 June 2001 page 7

Scottish newspapers

Record number of women jailed

The population of Scotland’s only female prison, Cornton
Vale, has reached new record levels. In the past three months, 237
women have been jailed there almost double the figure of a decade
ago and representing a 17 per cent overcrowding level. The
increases have occurred in spite of a pledge of three years ago to
reduce the number of women jailed.

Source:- The Herald Saturday 2 June page 6

Who pays for old age?

Maureen O’Neil, director of Age Concern Scotland, writes
on the theme of preparing for old age and the responsibility of the

Source:- Scotland on Sunday 3 June page 15

Edinburgh turns away from asylum seekers

Edinburgh Council has withdrawn from discussions with the
government’s National Asylum Support Scheme, and decided that
it will not accommodate asylum seekers. The council is blaming a
lack of appropriate housing for the decision which will put even
greater pressure on Glasgow Council as Scotland’s main
service provider.

Source:- Sunday Herald 3 June page 4

‘Asylum seeker’ a term of racial

There has been a noticeable increase in racial tension on the
streets of Glasgow since the arrival of refugees, and the term
‘asylum seeker’ has now become a generic term of racial
abuse according to leading race relations campaigners.

Robina Qureshi, director of Positive Action in Housing, said:
“The word asylum seeker is now an official swear word.” The racist
aggression is now more widespread than before according to the
campaigners, and Mark Brown, of the Glasgow Campaign to Welcome
Refugees, said: “It hasn’t just been against asylum seekers
and refugees. As far as racist thugs are concerned black people are
black people.”

Source:- The Herald Monday 4 June page 4

Social work soft on absentees

Social work management in Glasgow is too soft on absentees
according to the council’s vice convenor of personnel,
councillor George Ryan.

As the council addressed the absenteeism figure for the first
three months of this year, which it described as being at
“unacceptably high levels”, Ryan hit out at social work – the
department with the highest absenteeism levels of 8.1 per cent.
Ryan dismissed claims that social work staff were under greater
stress than other departments comparing them with direct services
staff who had to work in inclement weather.

Referring to the mandatory counselling to be given to every
staff member after a period of sick leave, Ryan said: “In social
work it seems to be a case of ‘glad to see you back –
how are you keeping?’”

Angela Lynes, Unison’s Glasgow branch secretary, dismissed
Ryan’s comments saying that social work staff were under far
greater pressure than other council staff.

James Andrews, chief executive of Glasgow Council, has outlined
an action plan to tackle absenteeism across all departments.

Source:- The Herald Monday 4 June page 5

More children dealing in drugs

There has been a significant increase in the number of children
younger than 15 years dealing in drugs according to a police report
following an all-Scotland crackdown on drugs offences. The
campaign, orchestrated by the Scottish Drugs Enforcement Agency,
revealed that in the first two months 12 children were arrested for
dealing in the Strathclyde area alone. When all drugs offences were
taken into account, there were as many offenders in the 11 to 15
age range as for those aged 41 to 65 years.

Source:- The Scotsman Monday 4 June page 1




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