A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.


can be very dangerous places for children, the Churches Child Protection
Advisory Service told the Victoria Climbie inquiry.

service accused some churches of being “lax and irresponsible in their approach
to child protection”.

The Times  Saturday 23 March page 6


second boy has been charged with the murder of 15-year-old Kayser Osman, the
Somalian boy who was stabbed to death in north London earlier this month.

14-year-old boy was arrested on Wednesday. An 11-year old has already been

The Times  Saturday 23 March page 11

wins right to die

woman, who is paralysed from the neck down and has been kept alive on a
ventilator for over a year, won the right to have her life support switched off
on Friday.

former senior social worker Miss B demonstrated a “very high standard of mental
competence, intelligence and ability”, according to Dame Elizabeth Butler Sloss.

she was competent to take decisions, she was entitled to refuse treatment, but
this would inevitably lead to her death.

The Guardian  Saturday 23 March page 1

Smith vows to help the vulnerable

Conservative Party will declare it is the champion of “vulnerable people”, at
the party’s spring conference tomorrow.

Duncan Smith will herald a change in strategy at the conference and claim that
a Conservative government priority would be to help older people, sick people
and those who are uneducated.

party chairperson David Davis said: “We want to be a one-nation party for the
21st century. We want to be absolutely sure that every policy helps
the vulnerable. We want to say to people on a council estate: you are the ones
who are going to gain from this.”

Daily Telegraph  Saturday 23 March page 1

parents must be tackled

standards to improve in schools, there must be a crackdown on truancy,
according to Tony Blair.

prime minister said local authorities should be more willing to use the powers
they have to prosecute parents if their children skip school.

added that truanting teenagers cause “misery and mayhem in communities”.

need to know that the government is on their side and the community is on their
side against unruly children and abusive parents.”

the crime summit in Downing Street this week, it was agreed there should be
more “truancy sweeps”.

Daily Telegraph  Saturday 23 March page 13

care pay the price of saving for old age

care market is ripping off thrifty pensioners, it was claimed yesterday.

of middle class older people who have saved for retirement are charged higher
fees than if they turned to local authorities, which pay for the care of less
well off older people.

report from the Age Concern Institute of Gerontology at King’s College, London
reveals a disturbing picture of unfair treatment towards better off pensioners.

Dr Fay Wright said: “Older people able to pay privately lose out in the current
social care market. Their interests should receive greater protection. It is
important they get a fairer deal.”

Daily Mail  Saturday 23 March page 28

parents blamed for class chaos

growing crisis of child and teenage delinquency sweeping Britain is down to yob
parents, the government will claim this week.

Secretary Estelle Morris will say that “feckless” parents are undermining the
good work of schools.

children need to learn to behave, one of the biggest problems is violent
parents, who march to the schools and are physically and verbally abusive, she
will say in a speech to the Association of Teachers and Lecturers on Wednesday.

The Observer  Sunday 24 March page 1

in care let down

failure in government plans to ensure more young people in care win permanent
homes means children are being shunted from one temporary foster home to
another, says a government report.

key targets set for local authorities have not been met. The first was to cut
the number of placements such as being switched between foster families and
residential homes in a year, and the second was to boost the education of
children in care.

year only 37 per cent of children emerged from care with at least one exam
pass, against a target of 50 per cent.

improvements will need to be made quickly” to hit the target of 75 per cent of
children leaving care with at least one exam pass by 2003, says the report.

The Observer  Sunday 24 March page 15

time sex offenders will be jailed for life: Blunkett

new laws to be introduced by David Blunket will mean serious sex offenders will
receive a mandatory life sentence for their first offence.

sentence will be introduced partly because of the brutal murder of
eight-year-old Sarah Payne by Roy Whiting. The home secretary was outraged to
learn Whiting had received only four years in prison for abducting and
assaulting a nine-year-old girl just five years before he murdered Sarah.

said: “There must be no more cases like that of Roy Whiting, a man sentenced to
four years for a terrible kidnap and sexual assault of a child, who went on to
commit an even more horrendous crime.”

The Sunday Telegraph  Sunday 24 March page 1

become nomads as £1bn shortfall forces homes out of business

care homes closing at a rate of two a day, the 102-year-old woman who took her
protest to Downing Street on Monday is far from alone.

The Sunday Telegraph  Sunday 24 March page 17

crime gave Labour a kicking

are “huge increases” in recorded levels of violent crime including muggings and
assault, according to an internal memo by senior police officers.

figures for street crime will more than double in some areas because police
will begin to record offences in a more “honest” way from next week.

of the Superintendents Association, who drew up the recording system, say it
will give a truer picture of the scale of crime.

The Sunday Times  Sunday 24 March page 13

boarding schools face inquisition on child abuse

welfare reports will publish child abuse and bullying allegations made by pupils
at private boarding schools from next week.

at Eton, Harrow and other independent schools will be invited to complete a
confidential questionnaire asking what they think of teachers, bullies,
punishment and privacy at school.

unsubstantiated claims of abuse would be included in the results, which will be
published and available on the Internet.

will be required to report any allegations of abuse to head teachers, police or
social services.

Morgan who begins work as England’s first director of children’s rights said he
hoped the measures would help prevent abuse and bullying in boarding schools
and reassure pupils and parents.

The Times  Monday 25 March page 1

1 in 3 willing to go abroad to beat NHS
waiting lists

in three British people would be prepared to travel anywhere in Europe for
operations to cut NHS waiting lists, according to a survey.

with more than 2,000 people by Mori suggest that 32 per cent of people would be
willing to travel abroad if it cut the wait from at least a year to three
months while 59 per cent would travel elsewhere in Britain.

government is allowing NHS patients to travel to France and Germany for surgery
on cataracts and joints.

The Guardian  Monday 25 March page 8

to ban teenagers from streets at night

first town in Britain is to impose a curfew on teenagers banning under-15s from
the streets between 9pm and 6am.

children found by Corby police, in Northamptonshire, will be returned to their
parents and have to explain their whereabouts.

said a rise in juvenile crime has forced them to act. The curfew will be placed
in a small area where shopkeepers and residents have faced a succession of
robberies and muggings.

Daily Telegraph  Monday 25 March page 1

and Welsh papers

Persistent truants to be given computers
for home use

Council is to launch a controversial scheme whereby persistent truants and
others unable to attend school will be given computers for home use.

£600,000 scheme is partly funded by the Scottish executive and will involve up
to 30 pupils with personal and emotional problems being given £1,000 worth of
computer systems. 

trial in Glasgow, which follows similar schemes in Essex and Sussex, will run
for three years. Chronic truants, pregnant girls and those with long-term
illnesses will be the first to try out the proposals. Research has shown that
self-tutoring away from the social basis of schools can work for many pupils.
Teaching unions have criticised the pilot as being open to abuse.

The Scotsman Saturday 23 March page 8

Social work fails to protect children

all of Scotland’s social work departments say they do not have enough social
workers to allocate to children considered at risk. 

2,000 children on the at-risk register in Scotland, only one-fifth of social
work departments say they have sufficient social workers to deal with their

worst placed is Aberdeen Council which has 172 children on the at-risk register
and only two social workers dealing with child protection.

situation has been exacerbated by a huge increase in the number of referrals to
the children’s hearing system. Over the last two years alone there has been a
54 per cent increase in lack of parental care referrals with domestic violence
and drug abuse being blamed.

Sunday Herald Sunday 24 March page

Torture of child went unheeded

old Scott Saunders died a slow agonising death. Starved, beaten from head to toe
and drugged he pawed at the window of his bedroom pleading for help but no one

the conviction of his mother for culpable homicide and his stepfather for
murder, an investigative feature looks at the children of drug addicts and the
powers to protect them. The family was not known to the social work department
of South Lanarkshire Council that has responsibility for their home area of
Rutherglen. Yet numbers on the same authority’s child protection register has
doubled to more than 100 over the past 18 months, the main reason being
parental drug addiction – as was the case for those held responsible for Scott
Saunders’ death. 

Fyffe, the lawyer for Scott Saunders’ natural father, reflects the views of
many organisations and the public in suggesting that maybe it is time for drug
addicts to be given the choice between heroin and their children. 

Cameron, director of social work for South Lanarkshire, has called for more
research into the needs of the children of drug addicts.

Scotland on Sunday Sunday 24 March
page 6 

50,000 Scottish children have drug addict

50,000 Scottish children live with parents addicted to hard drugs, according to
one of the government’s most senior advisers. Laurence Gruer, chairperson of
the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, has warned that a whole generation
of children will be physically and emotionally damaged by their parents’

estimates are more than double the previous view that 20,000 children lived
with drug addicted parents.

The Sunday Times Sunday 24 March page

Call for ban on mental health cinema trailer

mental health groups have called for a ban on a harrowing cinema trailer,
commissioned by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

groups claim that the controversial two-minute film, depicting a man lying
naked on the floor and a dementia sufferer being abused, only serves to
increase the stigma of mental illness.

The Scotsman Monday 25 March page 3

Owen inquiry threatened by legal row

The  inquiry by Children’s Commissioner for
Wales, Peter Clarke, into alleged sexual abuse at a school in South Wales could
collapse because of a row over legal representation.

of the alleged abuse may refuse to testify unless their legal representation is
paid for out of the public purse. Without evidence from key witnesses the
inquiry could founder. The commissioner will hear submissions on the issue

Clywch inquiry will examine allegations of sexual abuse by former teacher John
Owen. Owen was due to stand trial last year but committed suicide before the
court case went ahead. The aim of the inquiry is to learn lessons for the
future rather than establishing guilt.

Western Mail Monday 25 March page 1
and 11

Councillors challenged to be social workers

in Cardiff have been challenged to work as social workers for a day.

main council union Unison has invited senior councillors to work a shift in one
of the children’s homes in the city. The invitation which the union says is a
"genuine offer" comes at a time of increasing tension between the
union and the council.

Wednesday this week, Unison in Cardiff is calling on members to take strike
action over the sacking of senior social worker, Charles Faber. The union
alleges that Faber was sacked because he blew the whistle on shortcomings in
children’s services in the city.

South Wales Echo Friday March 22 page

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