A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

New Deal has helped only 20,000 to find jobs

The New Deal programme has found work for just 20,000 young
people – far from the 250,000 promised.

A report published today suggests that most of the young people
would have found jobs anyway due to a strong economy and natural turnover.

The National Audit Office report suggests that only 8,000 to
20,000 extra people found a job as a result of the £3 billion programme in its
first two years.

Shadow work and pensions secretary David Willetts said the
report showed the scheme had little success, far lower than ministers had
claimed: "It shows that the whole scheme needs to be thoroughly reviewed
because it clearly isn’t working."

Source:- The Times Thursday 28 February page 2

Damilola trial judge rejects girl’s pack of ‘lies’

A 17-year-old youth was cleared of the murder of Damilola
Taylor yesterday after the judge discarded evidence from the prosecution’s main

The judge described her testimony as full of lies, and
attacked the way the 14-year-old girl had been given "inducements"
during police interviews that may have persuaded her to falsely claim she
witnessed the attack on the school boy.

A 22-page ruling rendered the girl’s evidence as totally

After the ruling was delivered, Mark Dennis for the
prosecution delivered no further evidence, and the judge directed the jury to
find the teenage boy not guilty of murder and other charges.

Two 16-year-old boys and a 15-year-old are still charged. They
deny murder, manslaughter and assault with intent to rob Damilola Taylor in
November 2000 in Peckham, south London.

Source:- The Times Thursday 28 February page 3

Migrants threat to drop babies overboard

A gang of Romanian asylum seekers said they would throw
their babies overboard a Channel ferry unless Britain would let them enter.

The eight asylum seekers carrying eight children went on the
rampage after immigration officials barred them from entering the country.

Immigration officials and security guards were kicked and
spat at by five women and three men during a three hour stand off, after they
were refused entry to Britain because they had false travel documents.

No criminal charges have been brought against the asylum
seekers. The home office said even if charges had been brought they would still
have to allow the Romanians to enter the country once they had claimed asylum.

Source:- The Times Thursday 28 February page 4

UK confirmed as the asylum capital

Britain will be confirmed today as the asylum capital of

A United Nations report shows refugees select Britain above
any other European country.

New home office figures will show 90,000 asylum seekers and
their families lodged asylum applications here last year.

Germany was the next most popular with 88,000 new cases.

The biggest group of claimants in the UK are likely to be
from Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Despite the figures, David Blunkett will take some comfort
in the fact that applications are down on last year when there were 99,000
claims by asylum seekers and their families.

Source:- Daily Mail Thursday 28 February page 6

Drug addict services ‘are a shambles’

The £234 million spent on helping drug addicts and misusers
each year, is money badly spent, according to a report published by the Audit
Commission today, which says drug treatment services are a shambles.

Waiting lists of up to 100 days for treatment give users
more opportunities to continue thieving to get cash to feed their habit and can
deter them from seeking help.

Ministers have promised to increase spending on treatment to
£401 million over the next three years as part of a drive to tackle the
problem, which costs Britain £4.5 billion a year.

The report cites long waiting lists, treatment that failed
to deal with drug misusers social problems, inconsistent treatment and patchy
working between agencies.

Controller of the Audit Commission Andrew Foster said:
"There is fragmentation, not very good value for money and certain people
in great need in our society are falling through the net."

Source:- The Times Thursday 29 February page 10

‘Agencies hid scandal of aid workers who brought child
sex with food’

The knowledge that young girls in refugee camps in west
Africa were sexually abused in return for food, was common but consistently
covered up by senior aid workers, it was claimed yesterday.

A UNHCR and Save the Children UK report revealed yesterday
that aid workers have been involved in the sexual exploitation of refugee
children, offering food rations in return for sexual favours.

One aid worker who did not want to be named said:
"People have known about these abuses for months, but they were afraid to
do anything because they didn’t want to be critical of the international
agencies involved."

Another said corruption and abuse had been allowed to
flourish because international agencies failed to provide adequate supervision
of locally employed staff: "Everyone knows these things are common, but
they always cover them up," he said.

But a UNHCR spokesperson denies a cover up and said the
report had been edited from an original 80 pages to a released 16 to protect
the children.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 28 February page 14

Scottish newspapers

Homes for all pledge

Homelessness in Scotland will end by 2012 according to a
pledge by the Scottish executive.

The executive’s plans are regarded as one of the biggest
drives ever aimed to end homelessness and are based on a blueprint devised by
the multi agency homelessness taskforce. Campaign groups welcomed the plans,
but some expressed doubt that the executive’s initial investment of £11 million
over two years would be sufficient to meet the planned timetable.

Source:- The Scotsman Thursday 28 February page 9

Schoolboy defends father accused of assault

An eight-year-old French schoolboy defended his father of
assault charges against him in a case which last summer raised a public debate
about the Scottish executive’s plans to ban smacking. The boy, who cannot be
named, claimed his father smacked him once on the bottom. However, witness
Bernadette Gallacher told how she and her husband had seen the father
"punching and kicking the child viciously" before they intervened.
The trial continues today.

Source:- The Herald Thursday 28 February page 6

Final housing stock document issued to tenants

Tenants involved in the controversial proposals to transfer
Glasgow council’s housing stock to Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) are to
receive the final consultation document today.

The booklet, ‘Your Home – Your Choice’, lists changes made
to the plan since the first consultation exercise last year. These include a
£300 million loan from the Scottish executive to the GHA, and the new landlord
promising £4 billion of investment in the stock over 30 years. Ballot papers on
the proposal will be issued to tenants on 14 March and the result is due on 5

Source:- The Herald Thursday 28 February page 7

Welsh newspapers

Crisis in children’s welfare services unit

Unison in Cardiff is claiming that there is a crisis in the
city’s children homes with staffed stressed, frustrated and suffering high
sickness levels.

Unison’s branch secretary Peter King has written to every
councillor highlighting the extent of the problem, which he says is putting
frontline workers under pressure. He added that failings in the service might
lead to some vulnerable children suffering psychological and emotional harm,
and that this is part of the reason why violence against staff is on the increase.

Councillors have also failed to visit the homes regularly
with the joint inspection unit for Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan noting
that this was a "very poor reflection on the priority afforded to the
oversight of the service by the authority".

Source:- South Wales Echo Wednesday February 27 page
1 and page 10.

Lack of services hit drug addiction fight

Drug addicts are failing to get adequate treatment to help
them kick their habit because local services in England and Wales are
inadequate, says a new report from the Audit Commission.

The report highlights the huge increase in drug addiction
and the related costs to society through crime, and points to a serious lack of
counselling and rehabilitation services.

In England, a national treatment agency has been formed to
develop strategies and increase understanding of effective ways to deal with
drug addiction, but no parallel body exists in Wales, in spite of the major
problem that exists in many regions.

Source:- Western Mail Thursday 28 February page 5







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