A summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.

Lauren, 6, killed as negligent
officials failed

A woman was convicted of manslaughter and wilful neglect
yesterday after her six-year-old step-daughter died from abuse and multiple

After a four-week trial, which revealed 18 months of
psychological and physical abuse, Tracey Wright was found guilty of causing
Lauren’s death at Norwich crown court.

Lauren’s father Craig was also convicted of manslaughter
though there was no evidence he beat his daughter. The pair were remanded in
custody and will be sentenced in four weeks.

Lauren was found dead at the family home in Norfolk in May
last year. Her digestive system had collapsed fatally after a punch or kick to
the stomach from Tracey Wright. She weighed just two stones and was covered
with more than 60 bruises.

Norfolk social services department last night conceded that
its handling of the case had been negligent.

Lauren had been seen on three occasions by social workers in
the last 12 weeks of her life as well as by a policeman and two doctors. Social
services director David Wright said: “Had 
we followed the correct procedures which were already in place, Lauren
would be alive today.”

Source:- The Guardian  Tuesday 2 October page 9

Victoria suffered ‘worst abuse seen’

Victoria Climbie suffered the worst child abuse a Home
Office pathologist had ever encountered, it was revealed yesterday.

Nathaniel Carey told the public inquiry into her death that
the eight-year-old weighed just 3 stone 10lb and was suffering from muscle
wasting when she died of hypothermia last year. No part of her body was scar

The inquiry headed by Lord Laming is looking for lessons to
be learned from the girl’s death.

Victoria’s great aunt Marie Therese Kouao and her lover Carl
Manning were jailed for life in January for murder.

Source:- The Guardian  Tuesday 2 October page 9

Relative twice reported Victoria was in danger

Brent social services department were warned twice about the
danger Victoria Climbie could be in by a relative of the eight-year-old girl.

Esther Ackah told the inquiry into Victoria’s death that she
called Brent social services in June 1999, the day after visiting her at a flat
in Harlesden, north-west London.

Ackah said: “I made it clear that the child’s life was in
danger and somebody should go to see her.”

The inquiry continues.

Source:- Independent  Tuesday 2 October page 13

Teenagers found hanged in cells

Two teenagers, one of whom was on suicide watch, have been
found hanged in their cells in young offenders’ institutions.

In separate incidents, Luke Cortezo-Malone and Kevin Jacobs
were both found dead.

Cortezo-Malone was found at Brinsford YOI. He had been
waiting sentencing for convictions of robbery and assault. His death was the
second suicide at Brinsford in 12 months.

Jacobs had served 10 weeks of a six-month sentence for
robbery and assault at Feltham YOI. He was on suicide watch and should have
been checked every hour throughout the night but it is unclear whether this had

There will be an internal investigation into both deaths by
the prison service.

Source:- The Guardian  Tuesday 2 October page 11

Flu campaign

A £1.7m campaign was launched yesterday to encourage older
people to be vaccinated against flu.

Source:- Daily Telegraph  Tuesday 2 October page 2

Blunkett admits voucher system for refugees is ‘a mess from
start to finish’

The Home Secretary will seek to head off a conference revolt
over asylum vouchers tomorrow by promising to announce the results of his
review of the system in four weeks.

David Blunkett admitted yesterday the current asylum
situation was “a mess from beginning to end” and could not be made to work as
it should.

He is unlikely to meet transport and general workers union
leader Bill Morris’ demands to scrap the system, but is expected to defuse the
row by setting up a “green card” system to allow immigrants to work in the UK.

Source:- Independent  Tuesday 2 October page 8

‘Free’ nursing care plan ‘a nightmare’

Some older people could be worse off from the new system for
giving ‘free’ nursing care to nursing home residents, according to campaigners.

The system, which came into force in England yesterday, has
been attacked by charities, nursing home owners and nursing unions as unfair
and unworkable and could leave some older people with as little as £35 towards
weekly bills of £500.

The criticism is fuelling demands for a move to be adopted,
similar to that which will come into force in Scotland next April, where
nursing home residents will get nursing and personal care paid for.

Source:- Daily Mail  Tuesday 2 October page 31

Scottish newpapers

Child witnesses need protecting

The Scottish executive has failed child witnesses by leaving
them unprotected, according to one of Scotland’s leading child care organisations.

At its annual general meeting in Edinburgh, Children 1st
claimed that the executive had only now decided to launch consultation on
reforming the treatment of child witnesses six years after it was first

Children 1st chief executive claimed that the
delay had allowed children in Scotland to lag behind the rest of the UK and
they should have the same right to video links and specialist judges for
serious sex offence trials.

Source:- The Herald
Tuesday 2 October page 11


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