A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.

Immigrant expulsions fall short of target

Only 5,300 out of the 30,000 asylum seekers the government said
would be removed by next March, have so far been expelled by the
immigration service, home office statistics show.

But David Blunkett’s plans to increase the number of
removals in 2001/2 now looks unlikely as in the three months up to
September, the number of applications for asylum has increased by
21 per cent from the previous quarter to 18,855.

In defence of the small number of expelled asylum seekers, a
home office spokesperson said: “We’ve opened three new
detention centres in recent months and 700 new immigration officers
are being trained to work in this area. Substantial resources are
being invested to help reach the removals target.”

Of the 18,855 people who applied for asylum, 2,505 applications
are from Afghanistan. The second largest number of new applicants
was from Somalia 2,265 and then Iraq 1,910.

Source:- The Times Saturday 1 December page 2

Climbie inquiry chief criticises council over failure to
produce vital documents

The head of social services at Haringey council has been ordered
to appear before the Victoria Climbie inquiry following criticisms
of the council.

Director of the department Anne Bristow has been ordered to
attend the hearing on Monday after the council was accused of
withholding vital documents.

Chairman of the inquiry Lord Laming said the council’s
late production of important documents was “deeply disturbing”.

Victoria died at the hands of her great aunt Marie Therese Kouao
and her boyfriend Carl Manning.

After hearing of the late production of the documents, Laming
said: “It is totally unacceptable. This is an important inquiry. It
is a difficult inquiry to conduct and it is an inquiry of immense
importance, not just in respect of previous practice but in
learning lessons for the future.”

The decision to summons Bristow was taken after Neil Garnham QC
informed the chairman he had only just received vital documents,
and they referred to material that had not been disclosed.

Source:- The Independent Saturday 1 December
page 15

BBC drama will break sex and disability

Two people with severe learning disabilities are to star in a
BBC drama about sex and the disabled.

Dorothy Cockin and Peter Kirby have been chosen for the roles in
the 90-minute film Flesh and Blood, starring alongside Christopher

The pair play parents to Eccleston’s character, who was
adopted as a child. He tracks them down and is shocked to discover
they are in a mental institution and did not know they had a

The script examines what happens to Joe Broughton,
Eccleston’s character, as he learns about his parents’
lives and tries to come to terms with them.

The film’s producer Derek Wax said: “It’s quite a
taboo subject and I think the film will hopefully help to break
down some of the taboos.”

Source:- The Independent Saturday 1 December
page 15

Social worker jailed for child rape

A social worker has been jailed for 12 years for carrying out
sexual attacks on the children in his care.

Joseph Hopkins of Staffordshire, was found guilty of committing
rape and nine indecent assaults on teenagers while he worked at the
Riverside home in Rochester, Staffordshire. He had denied all the
charges during the two-week trial.

Source:- The Independent Saturday 1 December
page 6

Sock fibre ‘links Sarah suspect to scene of

Extra evidence that links Sarah Payne to her alleged killer has
been discovered by an independent forensic scientist, Lewes crown
court heard on Friday.

Roger Robson said his research highlighted a match between socks
found in Roy Whiting’s van, and a fibre discovered among a
clump of Sarah’s hair at the spot where her body was

He said his findings backed up those of Raymond Chapman from the
Forensic Science Service who said there was “extremely strong”
evidence to suggest Sarah had been in the van.

Whiting denies kidnap and murder.

The trial continues on Monday.

Source:- The Independent Saturday 1 December
page 16

Pensioner’s victory over care home

Controversial rules that force pensioners to sell their homes to
pay for nursing care were battled against on Friday in the high

Christopher Beeson gave his house to his son and continued to
live there with him. But when the pensioner had to move into a
nursing home, Dorset council tried to seize the property to meet
the bills.

Beeson went to court but died soon afterwards leaving his son to
face the council’s demands for the care his father

Mr Justice Richards said on Friday the council’s decision
was based on a ‘total misunderstanding of the law’.

Current rules mean that anyone with assets of more than
£16,000 must use them to pay for their nursing home fees. But
Beeson gave his son the house after his marriage ended and at a
time when he was fit and there was no suggestion of him going into
a residential home.

Mr Justice Richards said the council had failed to consider
clear evidence that Beeson gave his house away to help his son long
before needing care, and he had not been trying to dodge the

Source:- Daily Mail Saturday 1 December page 29

The betrayal of Damilola

Great change was promised in the wake of Damilola’s
murder. But in the week Tony Blair revisited Peckham, have things
really got any better?

Source:- Daily Mail Saturday 1 December page 20-21

Crackdown on paedophiles who lure children through

The government will launch guidance to crackdown on paedophiles
using internet chat rooms to lure children into meeting them.

Ministers will launch a guide on Monday on safe internet use to
help parents protect their children.

The £1.5 million national advertising campaign comes as a
survey for the Sunday Times internet section, reveals that two
thirds of child internet users chat to strangers online. The survey
by ‘Doors’ also found 10 per cent discuss meeting strangers.

About 5 million of Britain’s children are thought to be
online and able to chat to strangers.

Source:- The Sunday Times Sunday 2 December page 23

New HIV cases are mostly non-gay

More than half of all HIV infections in Britain come from
heterosexual contact, according to the latest figures.

More than 33,000 Britons aged between 15 and 59 are believed to
be infected. But infection through heterosexual contact is believed
to be increasing at a faster rate, according to research by Taylor
Nelson Sofres Healthcare, which states that around 54 per cent of
new infections in 2000 was a result of heterosexual contact.

Source:- The Independent on Sunday 2 December page

They risked jail and spent £40,000. But they saved
their son from heroin

Julie and Ian Gell had to break the law, pay the dealers and
undertake DIY rehab for their addicted son. Tracy McVeigh reports
on the plight of the families who must fend for themselves.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 2 December page 13

‘Stop child benefit at 16 for well-off

An influential think tank will propose today that child benefit
should be scrapped at 16, and the funds put into maintenance
allowances for students from poorer families.

The Institute for Public Policy Research will urge the
government to focus on the number of pupils staying on beyond
school leaving age.

The IPPR report, Opportunity for Whom? claims that reaching the
government’s target of enabling 50 per cent of under 30s to
go to higher education by 2010 will not guarantee a substantial
rise in the number of poor students.

Source:- The Times Monday 3 December page 6

Special schools fear closure

Head teachers of special schools are claiming that parents of
children with special educational needs are not being allowed to
send their children to schools that can cater for them.

The government’s policy on inclusion by educating children
with special needs in mainstream schools has caused controversy
among head teachers. Almost a fifth feared their schools would
close within a decade, according to a report for the Conservative

The proportion of children with special needs has risen steadily
as a result of ministers’ support for inclusion. More than 95 per
cent of head teachers said the policy did not take into account the
parents’ wishes.

A spokesperson for the department for education said inclusion
would not lead to widespread closures.

Source:- The Times Monday 3 December page 8

Blair backtracks on NHS spending

The prime minister retreated on a commitment to raise health
spending in Britain to match the European average within four

Tony Blair also ruled out a ring fenced NHS tax and said the
government would raise increased NHS spending from higher “general

Downing Street said that a target date of 2005/6 to reach
European level of spending first made 18 months ago and repeated
last Wednesday in the Commons, was a “broad aim”.

Source:- The Guardian Monday 3 December page 1

Women who deny access to children face

Mothers who deny their absent partners access to their children
could face community sentences under plans being drawn up by the

The Lord Chancellor’s department plans to introduce legal
sanctions against parents with custody of the children, who refuse
to let the absent parent have contact.

Ministers are concerned that in the past the law discriminated
against absent parents, usually the fathers.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Monday 3 December page 9

Scottish newspapers

The invisible child prostitutes

A two-page investigative feature into the incidence of child
prostitution in Scotland. Looking forward to the launch this week
of a Barnardo’s led multi-agency inquiry into the numbers of
child prostitutes. The writers estimate that there at least 300
child prostitutes in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Source:- The Sunday Herald 2 December

£2.5 million shortfall in free bus

The Scottish executive has seriously under funded their own
plans to introduce free public transport to older and disabled
people, according to Charles Gordon, leader of Glasgow Council.

The executive’s plans, announced last month, will create a
£2.5 million deficit for the 12 west of Scotland councils and
cause serious under investment in essential public transport
services according to the council leaders.

Source The Herald Monday 3 December page 4

Social work managers stole from residents

Two social work managers have been found guilty of stealing
money from people in their care over a two-year period.

Samuel Keen and John Gallacher worked at the Auldhouse
residential complex for people with mental illnesses and severe
disabilities, owned and run by the Roman Catholic Church’s
Archdiocese of Glasgow in the south side of Glasgow. The sheriff
court in Glasgow found that the two men had stolen from residents
as well as from the unit’s funds. As first time offenders,
social enquiry reports were ordered on Keen and Gallacher before
they will be sentenced later this month.

Source The Herald Monday 3 December

Munchausen syndrome by proxy

A page-length feature examining the question whether Munchausen
syndrome by proxy is too often the label attached when unexplained
illnesses in children persist.

Source:- The Herald Monday 3 December page 13









More from Community Care

Comments are closed.