A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

Boy, 15, stabbed to death after row over

A Somali teenage boy was stabbed and bled to death on Tuesday
following an argument with a group of youths over a football.

Kayser Osman, 15, was surrounded by a group of up to 10 boys as
he walked home from an after school club on a housing estate in
north London.

A passer by discovered him lying semi conscious with leg and
chest wounds and bleeding badly around 6pm on Tuesday. Paramedics
and police tried to resuscitate him, but he died 50 minutes later.
Police believe he was attacked with a kitchen knife.

The keen footballer was believed to have had frequent arguments
about football with the gang, made up of Black and Somali
teenagers, in the days leading up to his murder.

The stabbing comes two years after Damilola Taylor was stabbed
in the leg and left to bleed to death on a housing estate in
Peckham, south London.

Source:- The Times Thursday 14 March page 5

B & B for homeless to end in two years

Families with children will no longer be housed in bed and
breakfast accommodation within two years, Stephen Byers pledged

The secretary of state for transport, local government and the
regions, said it was unacceptable that 6,500 homeless families with
children were living in B&Bs.

By March 2004, this figure should drop to zero, except in
emergencies, he said.

Byers announced £125 million to help meet government
targets to cut homelessness and said that housing benefit
regulations would be changed to encourage councils to house the
homeless in leased private sector accommodation.

Source:- The Times Thursday 14 March page 6

Milburn acts to ease bed blocking

Department of health officials are considering a radical
approach to tackling delayed discharge in hospitals.

The model could halve the number of healthy older patients being
stuck in hospital beds because there are too few care home spaces

Health secretary Alan Milburn said yesterday that fusing social
services and the NHS to provide a single system of care, would be
the best way to reduce delayed discharge.

The “decades-old culture of buck passing” between the two
sectors was blamed by Milburn for the high number of patients
waiting to be discharged, but stuck in hospital.

He called for much greater investment in social services, but
said the system should also be fundamentally reformed.

Source:- The Times Thursday 14 March page 12

Refugee siege stops French rail freight

The French state railway operator will accept no new UK bound
traffic because of the huge backlog caused by nightly break-ins at
the Calais yard by would-be illegal immigrants.

“We do not envisage permanently suspending freight traffic
through the Channel tunnel, but at the moment, it is all we can do
to clear what we already have,” an SNCF spokesperson said
yesterday. “I have no idea how long it will take.”

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 14 March page 9

Life for baby killer

A man, who beat his girlfriend’s one-year-old baby son to
death and left the body in a cot for two weeks at a flat, was
jailed for life yesterday at Lewes crown court.

The great aunt of the toddler said she was “sure” Sam would be
alive if social services had not dropped his case. Yet East Sussex
council claimed that “at no time was Sam considered to be in

The court heard that Sam’s case was closed when his mother
Emma Back moved in with Aaron Goodman, the man convicted of murder.
The social workers visited the flat once and wrote twice, but
closed the matter after no response.

Sam’s mother was convicted of cruelty to a child and
preventing the burial of her son.

Goodman and Back claimed the child had died from cot death on 14
December 2000.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 14 March page 9

Kilshaws to release record

The couple who were at the centre of the internet adoption row
over baby twin girls, are to release a record.

Judith and Alan Kilshaw are to release a charity record to raise
funds for Wrexham football club.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 14 March page 10

Priest caught with child porn

The Dean of Reading pleaded guilty yesterday at Newbury
magistrates court, Berkshire, to making indecent pseudo-photographs
after being caught with more than 30,000 pictures of children in
depraved acts.

Father Michael O’Kelly was committed for sentencing on a
date to be fixed.

Source:- Independent Thursday 14 March page 6

Law to protect children who witness

Radical law changes to clamp down on domestic violence could
mean fathers who assault their partners could lose contact with
their children.

Ministers tabled an amendment to the Adoption and Children Bill
yesterday, which will force courts to take into account whether
children could be harmed by witnessing violence between their

Parliamentary secretary to the Lord Chancellor’s
Department Rosie Winterton said the courts would have to take into
account on a “case by case basis” whether abuse in the home –
even if it is not directed at the child – could pose a threat
to his or her wellbeing.

The government’s decision follows evidence that witnessing
violence between their parents or step-parents can cause serious
harm to children’s long term mental welfare.

Source:- Independent Thursday 14 March page 8

Scottish newspapers

Architects of their own future

As the 80,000 council house tenants receive their ballot papers
today to vote on the controversial proposal to transfer all local
authority housing stock to the independent Glasgow Housing
Association (GHA), a full length feature on the pros and cons.

As well as an overview of the issues, Bob Allan, chief executive
of GHA, is allowed to present the case in favour, while Tommy
Sherridan MSP is allowed to put the case against.

Source:- The Herald Thursday 14 March page 6

Confidential social work files leaked to

North Lanarkshire council has launched an urgent internal
inquiry after a computer disc with confidential service user and
staff records was sent anonymously to The Scotsman.

The file, containing intimate information on thousands of
people, was accompanied by a note alleging the sender had bought
the disc at an electronics fair at the Scottish Exhibition Centre
in Glasgow. It is understood that North Lanarkshire has a contract
with a company called UK-wide Sx3 to dispose of its computers once
they become obsolete. The council is also pursuing the prospect
that a disillusioned member of staff released the disc.

Source:- The Scotsman Thursday 14 March page 8

Welsh newspapers

Care homes given extra £7m

A further £7m is to be allocated to the crisis-hit care
home sector in Wales, it was announced yesterday.

Welsh health and social services minister, Jane Hutt, who made
the announcement, said that she would also set up a new strategy
group that would map-out a 10-year programme for the sector. She
told the health and social services committee of the Welsh assembly
that she recognised the mounting problems that care home owners
were experiencing, and warned that the £7 million cash
injection would not solve all their difficulties.

Source:- Western Mail Thursday 14 March page 1

Give police guns, top officer pleads

A senior welsh policeman has called for officers on the beat to
be given firearms to tackle the rising tide of armed criminals.

Clive Wolfendale, assistant chief constable in North Wales, says
that the police are put at ever greater risk because criminals
routinely carry guns for relatively minor crimes like mobile phone
and car theft.

The Association of Chief Police officers said that Wolfendale’s
comments were out of step with their view, but the Police
Federation said his remarks were common sense.

Last week, North Wales became the first force on mainland UK to
use a plastic bullet, but Wolfendale says that firearms would be
more practical to carry although he admitted that arming the police
would cost millions of pounds.

Source:- Western Mail Thursday 14 March page 1

Councillors decide to uphold sacking

Industrial action to disrupt services at Cardiff council looks
set to go ahead after councillors decided to uphold the sacking of
a senior social worker.

The appeal by Charles Faber, who led Cardiff’s emergency duty
team, was turned down yesterday. Faber was suspended after
appearing on a TV programme highlighting shortcomings in services
for children in the city, but the council say that his subsequent
dismissal was due to problems with financial management. His union
Unison, said that he was victimised because he blew the whistle on
inherent weaknesses in Cardiff’s provision for vulnerable

Source:- South Wales Echo Wednesday March 13 page 5







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