A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

Climbie case supervisor ‘had mental

A “serious psychotic mental illness” prevented a senior social
worker from handling the Victoria Climbie case to the best of her
ability, a public inquiry was told yesterday.

Carole Baptiste said she began suffering absent mindedness,
memory loss and difficulty with numbers in the summer of 1999 when
eight-year-old Victoria came into the protection of Haringey social

Baptiste thought these lapses were down to the stress of a
departmental reorganisation and did not seek medical attention.
When she raised the problem with superiors, they took no

Baptiste was manager of the child protection team in Haringey
responsible for Victoria’s case in the seven months before
she died in February 2000.

Peter Herbert, counsel for Baptiste told the inquiry that a
report by a consultant psychiatrist said she was clinically

The report said: “It is likely that Ms Baptiste was developing a
serious psychotic mental illness during 1999. It is likely that
this mental illness would have impaired her capacity to function as
a social work team leader.”

Baptiste is the first person to face prosecution for failing to
attend a public inquiry.

The inquiry continues.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 17 January page 13

Yardies dealing in cocaine rated most violent

The most violent criminals faced by the police are yardie style
gangsters fighting for control of the multi million pound crack
cocaine market, an officer said yesterday.

Head of Scotland yard’s Flying Squad, Commander Alan
Brown, said the scale and nature of the gang’s activities had
increased significantly in recent months.

Brown said there was a pool of youngsters aged 11 and 12, who
would be drawn into the gang culture unless communities came
together to try to stop the criminals in their tracks.

According to figures yesterday, 21 people were murdered in
London during 2001 in drug related shootings.

Brown said: “Out of the total of 32 London boroughs, 30 have
seen some form of activity. Twenty two London boroughs have had
shooting incidents.”

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 17 January page 8

Care staff’s child sex convictions to be

MPs concerned about miscarriages of justice are to investigate
the convictions of more than 100 care workers for alleged abuse in
children’s homes.

The home affairs select committee will question whether police
methods of trawling for information produced unreliable

It will also consider whether there should be a time limit on
prosecution for child abuse, and if the prospect of compensation
encourages people to fabricate allegations.

The committee’s chairperson Chris Mullin said: “It has
been suggested that a whole new genre of miscarriages of justice
has arisen from the over enthusiastic pursuit of allegations about
the abuse of children in institutions many years ago.”

Source:- Daily Telegraph Thursday 17 January page 9

Baby left at Portugese airport was on ‘at
risk’ register

The child abandoned in Portugal this week was on a social
services “at-risk” register and the British parents had a police
record, Portuguese authorities revealed yesterday.

Katherine Penny left three month old Charlie in a pram near faro
airport before flying to Britain with her boyfriend, Mark

British police were liasing with the authorities in Portugal
last night pending a decision whether the couple would be
extradited to face abandonment charges, which carry a sentence of
up to an eight-year imprisonment.

The Portuguese family court rules last night he should remain in
the care of a shelter for children in Faro.

Meanwhile, it was confirmed that Penny had another child, which
was adopted four years ago by her mother Lynn, a senior social
worker dealing with child welfare, and her husband Mike.

From his birth in October last year, social workers have been
concerned over Charlie’s welfare when Penny discharged
herself early from hospital, and they failed to pay rent on their
caravan home.

Source:- The Independent Thursday 17 January
page 5

Parents urged to join battle against

Estelle Morris urged parents to show children that bullying is

The secretary of state for education and skills told a
conference in London that it would be wrong to leave the battle
against bullying to teachers and schools.

She confirmed appeals panels would not let children back into
schools who had bullied or carried weapons.

Morris said: “Parents have an obligation to give the message to
their children that bullying is no way to behave. Children need
boundaries, and if they don’t get clear messages from home,
or somehow think bullying is OK, they will cross those

Source:- The Independent Thursday 17 January
page 9

No right to UK asylum for abused Albanians

An ethnic Albanian family who suffered “atrocious” persecution
by Serbs in Kosovo have been told by a high court judge that their
case does not mean they are eligible for asylum in Britain.

The mother was raped in front of up to 30 other people while her
son and husband were attacked with a knife. The accounts were
accepted as true, but when their claims for asylum were ruled upon,
the situation in Kosovo had changed and the claim was judged

By the time their asylum applications were processed in July
2000, United Nations peace-keeping troops had been deployed in the
region and ethnic Albanians were no longer under threat of

In the high court hearing, lawyers argued the family should be
treated as an exceptional case because of their suffering.

Mr Justice Turner ruled they had no right to refugee status.

Source:- The Independent Thursday 17 January
page 12

Scottish newspapers

Review ordered on care of suicide mother

Tayside NHS has ordered a review into the care provided to a
young mother who committed suicide with her two young children
earlier this week.

The bodies of Daniela Smith, Natasha, aged two, and two-month
old Samuel were found at the foot of cliffs at Kinnoul Hill, a
notorious suicide spot near Perth. Smith is understood to have
suffered from agoraphobia.

Source:- The Herald Thursday 17 January page 9

Prison reforms stalled

Long-awaited moves to reform Scotland’s prisons were
stalled yesterday as first minister, Jack McConnell, ordered an
immediate review of the executive’s anti-crime policy.

McConnell ordered that the review considered ways of tackling
crime with particular attention to deterrence and rehabilitation of
offenders before any decisions are made in modernising the prison
system. The Prisoner Officers’ Association of Scotland
described the delay as “shameful”.

Source:- The Herald Thursday 17 January page 1

Care of older people costs increases by £50

The Scottish executive faces a demand for an extra £50
million per year to pay for the care of older people in private
residential and nursing homes.

This is believed to be the difference between the payments
demanded by Scottish Care, the organisation representing most of
the private care home owners, and the current budgets of local
authorities. Discussions between Scottish Care and the Convention
of Scottish Local Authorities convened to address charges have not
yet reached agreement.

Source:- The Scotsman Thursday 17 January page 10

Welsh newspapers

Children’s centre dream may perish
Plans to provide a purpose- built centre for disabled children in
South Wales will not go-ahead if planning permission is not granted
for the site in south Gwent, a public inquiry has been told.

The site at Highcross Road, Newport is the only one suitable to
house a specialist centre that would serve thousands of young
people from across the region, the inquiry was told in an appeal
against Newport council’s refusal to grant planning
permission on the basis that existing facilities in the area are
grossly inadequate.
Source:- South Wales Argus Wednesday 16 January page 4

Gwent nurse struck off for neglect
A nurse who admitted neglecting two patients in a South Wales
nursing home has been struck off. Sandra Bennett who had more than
30 years experience refused to call an ambulance on one occasion
when one of her patients was dangerously ill, a professional
conduct committee has heard.

The committee was also told that she failed to record
observations in her nursing records on another elderly patient who
became ill.
Source:- South Wales Argus Wednesday 16 January page 9
New NHS champions to take on complaints
In a UK first, two new complaints advocates have been appointed in
Cardiff to tackle problems and act on behalf of patients.

The pioneering scheme will allow the advocates to look into all
aspects of NHS services and is one of a series of eight new
projects in place across Wales that is aimed at giving patients a
greater say in the way their health services are delivered.
Source:- South Wales Echo Wednesday 16 January page 16
Consultants turn locum to get rise out of

Senior doctors are resigning from permanent jobs with the NHS so
that they can earn more money as locums. This is part of a growing
trend in England and Wales and is contributing to a growing
shortage of consultants that in turn is adding to lengthy hospital
waiting lists.
Source:- Western Mail Thursday 17 January page 1





More from Community Care

Comments are closed.