A summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

Including Saturday and Sunday.

By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.

Ruling forces prisons to relax policy on jail

Mothers may now be able to keep their babies in prison after the
current 18-month cut off age, the court of appeal ruled yesterday.
The age may increase to three or four, according to the ruling.

The test cases arose after two mothers convicted of drug
offences argued that separating them from their children breached
their right to family life under the European Convention of Human

Last May, the high court ruled that the prison service was
allowed to run its inflexible policy. But yesterday (Friday) Lord
Phillips, Lord Justice Brook and Lady Justice Hale allowed the
appeal of one mother known as Q. The service must now reconsider
her case, although the appeal from prisoner P was rejected on the
grounds that a reconsideration was unlikely to find another

The judges said the home office and the prison service were
entitled to a policy, but to enforce it rigidly defeated the
policy’s aim of promoting the welfare of the child.

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 21 July page 7

Bulger killers go to halfway houses

The two killers of toddler James Bulger have left secure care
and moved into halfway houses as part of their planned
reintegration to society.

Robert Thompson and Jon Venables moved after each one was
allowed to go on a short holiday to disclosed locations in Britain.
Both have been held in local authority secure units since being
convicted of murder in 1993.

A source said yesterday: “They will probably have less privacy
in the halfway house than in the secure unit. These houses are not
palatial and the boys will be under 24-hour supervision, at least
in the initial stages.”

The home office refused to comment about the move or

Source:- Daily Telegraph Saturday 21 July page 8

Brixton mob ransacks shops after gun demo

Three police officers have been injured after stone throwing
youths took to the streets of Brixton in south London on

The violence broke out after a demonstration over the shooting
of a man carrying a lighter in the shape of a gun.

Although the demonstration was peaceful, youths smashed windows
and threw stones after it finished at the estate where Derek
Bennett was shot.

A police spokesperson said: “There have been isolated incidents
of criminal damage and sporadic incidents of public disorder by
small groups of youths.”

Source:- Daily Telegraph Saturday 21 July page 8

Ministers fail to spend £7bn meant for public

Public services were denied funding of £7 billion as the
government failed to reach its spending targets, according to a
report from the Treasury.

Whitehall departments are estimated to have spent £190.5
billion in the year to April 2001, 3 per cent less than their
agreed limit of £197.4 billion.

The shortfalls were in education and health.

Dan Hodges of the GMB union said the report raised questions
over the need to introduce private sector input to public

The doh spent only £44.8 billion of its £45.5 billion

Source:- Independent Saturday 21 July page 2

Adopted woman wins court fight to reveal her

Adoption agencies could be forced to be more open with their
records, following a landmark case involving a woman adopted in the

Linda Gunn-Russo had taken high court action against the agency
involved in her case, which refused to divulge details about her
early life. The Nugent Care Society were told to review its
decision document by document by Mr Justice Scott Baker.

Catholic run children’s society NCS insisted its policy
was to withhold records that either the birth or adoptive parents
wanted kept confidential. But the judge said the agency had not
exercised the “wide discretion” it had under the adoption
regulations to disclose information on an individual case.

The NCS promised to review its policy on disclosure and will
reach a fresh decision about Gunn-Russo.

Source:- Independent Saturday 21 July page 12

Eurotunnel faces £2m fines over rail

An aggressive crackdown on illegal immigrants could leave
Eurotunnel facing fines of £2 million per month.

Ministers have ordered the company to sort out the security mess
at the French terminal, which allows an estimated 1,000 stowaways a
month to smuggle themselves into Britain.

A source close to the home secretary said the company had been
issued with a formal compliance order that could lead to it being
forced to pay millions of pounds in fines, if security is not

Source:- The Sunday Times 22 July page 14

Job rule to be eased for asylum seekers

Asylum seekers can seek work on entering Britain, according to
proposals being prepared by the home secretary.

Ministers hope the new rule would enable Britain’s staff
shortages in areas such as health, education and engineering to be
improved, and the move would save the Treasury money in social
security benefits.

Currently asylum seekers are prevented from seeking employment
until their residency claim has been processed and they have been
in the country for six months.

Unemployment is at a 25-year low and falling. The moves should
also reduce the 25 per cent of asylum seekers thought to be working
on the black market.

Source:- Sunday Telegraph 22 July page 6

Government to announce £300m for

A £300 million expansion of childcare will be announced by
Estelle Morris this week.

The secretary of state for education will announce a major
package designed to help working families with children.

There will be 45,000 new childcare places in 900 neighbourhood
nurseries. Money from the European social fund will be invested in
extra training for childcare workers.

The plan is part of the government’s strategy to place
children at the heart of the second term.

Source:- Independent on Sunday 22 July page

Kilshaws to adopt third baby and leave

The couple who shocked the nation by paying for twin girls in
America through a baby broker, plan to adopt again and move to

Judith and Alan Kilshaw lost the high court battle to keep the
American girls, whom they bought for £8,200. They intend to
approach the Californian agency again and move their family to
Turkey in a bid to evade Britain’s adoption regulations.

The couple smuggled the girls into Britain in December last year
and spent three months battling for custody with Flintshire social
services. Twins Belinda and Kimberley were made wards of court and
eventually returned to Missouri, their birth state.

The revelations come in a documentary to be shown on Wednesday
entitled Meet the Kilshaws.

Source:- The Mail on Sunday 22 July page 41

The asylum ‘stockpile’

More than 30,000 asylum claims have gone astray in a bid by the
home office to stop them showing up on statistics, it has

Asylum claims that have been rejected are being hidden by
officials as opposed to being passed on to an appeal tribunal,
which would rule on whether to grant refugee status.

The secret stockpile is a desperate bid to please ministers that
asylum claims waiting for an initial decision have been

Last night the Tories accused the government of fiddling the

Immigration minister Angela Eagle defended the delays: “For
every appeal lodged, the immigration and nationality directorate
has to review the grounds advanced and may as a consequence need to
reconsider all the circumstances of the case.

“Appeals are not forwarded to IAA until this consideration has
been completed, and appeal papers have been prepared,” she

Source:- Daily Mail Monday 23 July page 29

Care homes use ‘chemical cosh’ on the

Sedative drug prescriptions for older people have almost doubled
in the last year, according to a report today.

There is a 70 per cent rise in prescriptions of anti-psychotic
drugs for the over 60s between 1999 and 2000.

The report prompts fears that older people with dementia are
being drugged to the state of zombies and stripped of their

The drugs such as Clozapine, Olanzapine and Zotepine are used to
control disturbed behaviour in patients, especially those suffering
dementia. It is widely believed the increase in these drugs has
happened as a result of staff shortages in residential and nursing

Paul Burstow, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for older people,
said the figures were “very frightening”, and the government had
failed to act on the Royal College of Physicians’ call four
years ago for a national review of prescribing guidelines.

“Older people are the victims of a chemical cosh,” he said

“With a chronic shortage of specialised staff to support older
people with dementia and other mental health problems, these
figures show that care homes are turning to a chemical cocktail of
drugs to keep people quiet and easier to manage,” he added.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Monday 23 July page 7

Passport for patients

Thousands of National Health Service patients could be sent
abroad for treatment.

Britain has the longest waiting times for surgery in Europe, and
a ruling earlier this month from a European court of justice means
the government cannot refuse to pay for Britons to be paid in other
EU countries, unless the NHS can provide the same treatment without
undue delay.

Former minister Frank Field has called for health secretary Alan
Milburn to cut waiting lists by allowing patients to be treated
overseas. Last year he proposed the set up of NHS International to
co-ordinate sending Britons abroad for quicker, cheaper

So far the government has refused to use this method to cut
waiting lists and the department of health said last night this
option was not one being considered.

Source:- Daily Mail Monday 23 July page 19

Underage sex linked to single parent

Teenagers in families whose parents remain together are less
likely to have underage sex, than victims of divorce, according to
a report.

The study, based on responses from more than 2,250 young people
makes direct links between teenagers’ home environments and
attitudes towards sex.

The report will be presented to the Lords and Commons family and
child protection group tomorrow, and will suggest that there needs
to be a strong emphasis on marriage as the ideal type of family
unit for raising children, as married couples in a good
relationship have offspring less likely to have underage sex.

Source:- The Guardian Monday 23 July page 12

Scottish newspapers

New approach to domestic abuse

People who abuse their partners and children may face
counsellors rather than criminal prosecution in a ground-breaking
proposal planned for Edinburgh. Edinburgh Council and the Scottish
Children’s Reporter Administration have drawn up proposals
for the initiative in consultation with the Scottish executive.

If successful, the pilot project will start with low levels of
domestic abuse where successful prosecutions are rare due to the
reluctance of family members to stand as witnesses against each

The announcement comes as latest figures indicate that domestic
abuse in Scotland has increased by more than 100 per cent during
the last 20 years.

Source:- The Herald Saturday 21 July page 1

Hospital reopens in private care crisis

A former hospital has been reopened in preparation to
accommodate older people refused admission to privately owned
residential or nursing units in the ongoing dispute over care home

Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride was closed in March and
staff and equipment were moved to a new £67.5 million hospital
built on an adjacent site. Lanarkshire Health Board has now set up
25 to 30 beds in the old hospital in anticipation of an escalating
crisis over the private care dispute.

Scottish Care, representing most of the private home owners, has
warned that no new council-funded residents will be admitted after
next Monday if they do not receive an additional £50 per
resident per week

Source:- The Herald Monday 23 July

Youth crime down in Strathclyde

Youth crime is significantly down in Strathclyde, covered by one
of the largest police forces in Europe. Comparing 1999/2000 with
1996/97, the number of children responsible for robbery and assault
was 4.6 per cent compared with 15.3 per cent. The number of
juvenile housebreakers fell from 15.5 per cent to 2.3 per cent over
the same period. Strathclyde has attracted controversy by
introducing schemes such as night time curfews focussing on those
under 16 years.

Source:- The Scotsman Monday 23 July page 8

Police hunt delinquent for death of woman of

Tayside police are hunting an attacker who may have caused the
death of a 91-year- old woman in sheltered housing by smashing a
window in her flat. Police are working on the theory that she may
have died of a heart attack as a result of the trauma of the

If caught, the attacker is likely to be charged with culpable
homicide. The attack took place at Ashgrove Court sheltered housing
complex in Blairgowrie, Perthshire.

Source:- The Herald Monday 23 July page 1





More from Community Care

Comments are closed.