A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.

Debunked, the myth that black children need black

Black children do not suffer from being adopted by white parents
according to research.

Despite years of insistence that black children should grow up
in black families where possible, in practice, racial differences
have no bearing on how the child grows up.

A study by Dr Amanda Baden looked at 51 American adults, who had
been brought up by parents of a different race. It found children
were unaffected whether they were brought up in a black or white

The findings are controversial as for years it has been
difficult for white couples to adopt black children in Britain.
Despite government promises to end political correctness in the
adoption system, social workers strive to find exact racial matches
for children in care with prospective adoptive parents.

Baden, who is assistant professor of human sciences at St
John’s University in New York, said that although she did not
want to suggest that adopted children gained nothing from learning
about their birth culture, ‘identifying with their birth
culture is not necessary for adjustment’.

The government’s adoption bill, due to go through
parliament this year contains no proposals to end such practices,
although ministers are committed to increasing adoption rates and
scrapping unnecessary barriers to adoption.

Source:- Daily Mail Monday 27 August page 31

Charity to help troubled farmers

Farmers hit by the foot and mouth epidemic will benefit from
£250,000 made available to them from a mental health

RuralMinds, a branch of Mind, said that many farmers were
showing signs of post traumatic stress disorder and gave warning of
emotional and mental scars.

Keith Elder, national development manager, said: “Crisis
helplines were set up after the outbreak to deal with immediate
problems and an enormous amount of counselling has already gone on,
but we have to think how we are going to deal with the longer term
impact on mental health.”

RuralMinds is offering £10,000 for the creation of
self-help and discussion groups and smaller grants will be
available for those in isolated communities.

Source:- The Times Monday 27 August page 8

NHS to fund operations in Europe

Thousands of patients on hospital waiting lists will receive
free treatment in other EU countries where public and private
healthcare providers are eager to make use of spare capacity, in a
historic shift in NHS policy.

Health secretary Alan Milburn has decided to revoke the 1977
Health Act that stood in the way of treatment abroad.

Until now, health authorities have not been allowed to contract
to buy operations overseas unless there were exceptional

But primary care trusts will in future be allowed to contract
with EU providers for batches of operations such as hip
replacements and cataracts that have the longest waiting lists.

Source:- The Guardian Monday 27 August page 1

Labour fury at asylum voucher

The home office decision to not abolish the voucher system
following its review has resulted in union leaders feeling

The unions have been critical of the scheme for a long time,
considering it demeaning to asylum seekers. But home office
ministers have privately admitted they cannot find a suitable

Having spent a year looking at substitute schemes, advisers have
admitted replacing the scheme with cash benefits that would make
Britain a more attractive destination for asylum seekers.

Immigration minister Lord Rooker said: “If you have 80,000
asylum seekers now, you would have 180,000 if we went back to cash

Source:- The Times Tuesday 28 August page 1

Drug reform ‘not limited by

A reform of the drugs laws would not breach international
treaties, according to a leading drugs charity yesterday.

Drugscope believes the government could axe imprisonment for
drugs possession and replace it with fines or other civil

‘European Drugs Laws: The Room For Manoeuvre’, a report from
Drugscope, looks at possession of drugs in countries and finds that
in the Netherlands, drug possession is not punished, in Italy it is
dealt with by civil penalties and in Spain it is dealt with by

Roger Howard, the charity’s chief executive, said: “For
many years a major impediment to drug reform has been the belief
that UN conventions restrict change.”

“This study dispels the view. The government needs to decide if
allowing otherwise law abiding citizens to get caught up in the
criminal justice system for possessing drugs such as cannabis is a
proportionate response,” he added.

Source:- The Times Tuesday 28 August page 7

Humiliation is price refugees pay for

A feature on the controversial voucher system for asylum

Source:- The Times Tuesday 28 August page 8

Scottish newspapers

Children’s hearing staff threaten

Reporters to the children’s panel and support staff have
rejected a pay offer of 2.5 per cent, and threatened strike action
unless it is increased to 8 per cent.

In a Unison ballot 184 of the 300 members voted to reject the
offer while only 10 voted for acceptance. The Scottish
Children’s Reporters Administration argues that the 2.5 per
cent offered is in addition to a 2 per cent increase paid in April.
Unison accuses SCRA of taking four months to produce an
unacceptable offer, and describes staff as “frustrated and fed

Source:- The Herald Tuesday 28 August page 7

McLeish under pressure on private hospitals

First minister Henry McLeish came under increasing pressure on
the use of private hospitals from opposition parties and health
welfare organisations.

McLeish has made it clear that he will not mirror a concordat
agreed between the NHS in England and private hospitals to cut
waiting lists. However, opposition parties and doctors’
organisations are predicting that the Scottish executive will be
forced to allow patients facing “undue delay” to travel to private
hospitals abroad as a result of a European court ruling.

The ruling, against Westminster, has been accepted by Alan
Milburn, health secretary, who has said that the change may require
legislation “to guarantee patients high standards of care and
taxpayers good value for money”.

Mary Scanlon, Conservative party health spokesperson in
Scotland, describes the Scottish executive’s policy on health
as now “being in tatters”. Mike Stone, spokesperson for the
Patients Association, said that the forced change in government
policy could benefit thousands of people waiting in “daily pain”. A
spokesperson for the Scottish executive said it is “actively
examining” the ruling.

Source:- The Scotsman Tuesday 28 August page 1





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