A summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

    By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.

    Bills outlined in the Lords yesterday

    Adoption

    Following the Kilshaw internet adoption case, new laws will
    tighten inter-country adoption.

    Alan and Judith Kilshaw bought twin girls for £8,000 from
    an internet adoption agency, after the girls had already been sold
    to an American couple for £4,000.

    The children have since returned to their natural parents.

    The government aims to reduce the number of children growing up
    in local authority care by half.

    The Adoption and Children Bill, which failed to become to law
    before the general election, is designed to increase the number of
    children adopted by 40 per cent, and if possible, 50 per cent.

    The bill follows a review of adoption services last July, which
    highlighted long delays, poor outcomes for children growing up in
    care and inconsistency in services.

    The introduction of a national adoption register will speed up
    the process of helping to match children and would-be parents.

    There will also be an independent review mechanism for would be
    adopters who feel they have been turned down unfairly.

    Families

    Child poverty will be tackled through a Tax Credit Bill, by
    reforming Gordon Brown’s system of paying benefits through
    the tax system.

    “A new generation of tax credits” will replace three existing
    tax credits – the working families tax credit, the
    children’s tax credit and the disabled person’s tax
    credit.

    Families in work or on benefits will receive a tax credit for
    families, and working adults on low incomes will also benefit from
    a credit.

    Health

    The new primary care groups and trusts will handle 75 per cent
    of NHS budget by 2004. They currently handle 50 per cent.

    Patients will also be able to take part in local decisions
    through new powers in local authorities.

    Source:- Daily Telegraph Thursday 21 June page
    10-11

    Bulger killers ‘out next week’

    The killers of two-year-old James Bulger are believed to have
    been removed from their secure units, in preparation for their
    release next week.

    Jon Venables and Robert Thompson have spent eight years in
    confinement. They have been interviewed by a parole board panel,
    which must decide whether they are a risk to society.

    It is expected that the board will recommend their release,
    after a wide range of psychiatric opinion concluded neither pose a
    significant risk of re-offending.

    David Blunkett, the new home secretary, is expected to announce
    their release next week, and they will be freed under licence with
    new identities.

    Source:- Daily Telegraph Thursday 21 June page 6

    Hectic NHS ‘no excuse for poor
    care’

    Hospitals were warned yesterday that lack of resources was no
    excuse for mistakes that could put patients’ lives at risk,
    by the government’s NHS watchdog.

    Health service ombudsman Michael Buckley said his recent
    caseload included examples of patients dying in wards where staff
    were working under great pressure.

    “The fact that resources are limited does not automatically
    exonerate the body concerned from responsibility for poor service
    or treatment. It is not enough to say the ward or clinic was
    exceptionally busy if no effective steps had been taken to manage
    care appropriately,” Buckley said.

    Junior medical staff have been criticised in Buckley’s
    annual report, for failing to seek consultants’ advice, and
    warned lack of communication all round.

    Source:- The Guardian Thursday 21 June page 9

    Premature babies ‘at higher risk of learning
    difficulties’

    Premature babies born five to eight weeks early, have a “very
    significant risk” of suffering from learning difficulties,
    according to a study published today.

    The research shows that up to one third of babies born
    moderately early need help from a classroom assistant at primary
    school, are identified as having special needs or have to attend
    special schools.

    “Children of school age who were born at 32 to 35 weeks
    gestation have a very significant risk of educational
    difficulties,” said doctors who wrote the report, which is
    published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

    Source:- The Independent Thursday 21 June page
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