A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom and Alex Dobson.

Mother appeals

The woman who was given two life sentences for killing her two
babies launched an appeal against her conviction.

Angela Cannings claimed it was a breach of her human rights. If
she fails she will try to get the sentences reduced.

Source:- The Times Tuesday 14 May page 4

Jailing of truants’ mother ‘sends the right

The government welcomed a magistrates’ decision to send a
woman to jail for allowing her children to play truant.

Patricia Amos from Oxfordshire was sentenced to 60 days’
imprisonment for failing to ensure her two daughters attended the
local comprehensive regularly.

Amos’ family claimed the sentence was unduly harsh, but
education secretary Estelle Morris said it sent the right message
to other parents who may be tempted to condone their
children’s absenteeism.

It is the first time courts have used new custodial powers
directed at the families of truants.

Source:- The Times Tuesday 14 May page 7

Criminals’ benefit cuts cost taxpayer

Measures to cut welfare benefits from criminals who breach
community service orders, cost the taxpayer £8,000 for each
case, it emerged yesterday.

The scheme, which was introduced under social security
legislation in pilot areas last year and is part of a government
drive to change the behaviour of persistent offenders, was branded
a “costly flop”.

The department for work and pensions admitted only 39 people
have had their benefits reduced, saving no more than £5,000.
The cost of administering the programme in Teeside, the West
Midlands, Derbyshire and Hertfordshire since October has been

Source:- The Times Tuesday 14 May page 7

‘Love for custody’ is filling

The director general of the prison service has blamed
judges’ and magistrates’ “love affair” with custody has
been blamed for the overcrowding in prisons in England and

Martin Narey said: “We cannot simply keep building ahead of this
burst for custody. At worst we cannot treat people with dignity or
decency or sometimes keep them alive.”

Four people had killed themselves in jails in the past three
days, he said.

Although he praised the work of the probation service, Narey
admitted that victims of crime and even criminals felt they were
“getting off” when they were given community punishment.

Source:- The Times Tuesday 14 May page 7

French ‘end guard at Channel

Reports that French police had given up guarding the Channel
Tunnel freight depot near Calais, and were leaving the way clear
for refugees to risk their lives jumping on trains to Britain, were
being investigated by the home office last night.

The move could also prompt train operator EWS to halt services
once again.

French authorities are believed to have withdrawn from Frethun
depot after eight guards were injured in a fight with refugees on
Sunday night.

Twenty five illegal immigrants were later arrested after leaping
from a moving train as it arrived at Dover.

A home office spokesperson said the home office had been working
with French police to improve security.

Source:- The Times Tuesday 14 May page 8

Blunkett hits at police handling of crime

The home secretary yesterday accused the “drip drip” ad hoc
publication of crime figures by individual police forces for
driving up the fear of crime.

At the same time David Blunkett warned police officers they
would set a bad example to young tearaways and thugs if they gave
him a hostile reception at the annual conference tomorrow.

Blunkett said in future home office crime figures would be
published every three months instead of every year in a bid to
present “a more realistic picture” of crime in England and

The home secretary cannot prevent police forces publicising
their own figures, but hoped he would persuade chief constables
that separate publication would no longer be necessary.

Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 14 May page 5

Australia ‘regrets’ suffering of

The Australian government expressed its regret for the
“injustice and suffering” caused to thousands of people who were
physically and sexually abused after being sent to the country as
child migrants.

The Child Migrants Trust, which seeks to reunite families
separated by the policy whereby some 3,500 British and Maltese
children were sent to Australia after the Second World War in part
to bring “white stock” to the colony, welcomed the move.

But the International Association of Former Child Migrants
criticised ministers that had “whittled down” the scale of the
abuse and had stopped short of offering a full apology.

The statement of regret came as the citizenship and
multicultural affairs minister Gary Hardgrave announced a $3.84m
(£1.38 million) reparation package designed to help former
migrants return to Britain to see relatives and to fund family
tracing and counselling services.

Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 14 May page 7

Bishop joins critics of gay adoption plan

A leading contender to be the next Archbishop of Canterbury has
criticised plans to allow homosexual couples to adopt children.

The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Rev Christopher Herbert said it
was “undeniably the case that the best place for a child to grow up
was in the context of a male-female relationship”. He said this
meant in “normal families”.

The bishop’s statement follows an announcement from Alan
Milburn last week that MPs would be given a free vote over whether
unmarried couples would be allowed to adopt.

Bishop Herbert added: “We also have to ask what it would be like
for the child in the playground.”

Source:- Daily Telegraph Tuesday 14 May page 9

Prison Service gives partners of gay inmates greater

Partners of gay prisoners will find it easier to visit their
lovers in jail more easily, the head of the Prison Service has

A change has been made to prison rules in England and Wales to
allow homosexual partners to be classified as close relatives,
Martin Narey said.

In a letter to Unlock, the national association for former
offenders, Narey acknowledged that prison rules discriminated
against gay inmates.

“This has been particularly evident in our visits policy, in
which recognition is given to common law hetrosexual relationships,
but not to same sex couples.”

He said he had decided to instruct all prison governors that the
rules had been changed and that partners of gay prisoners should
“enjoy the special status afforded to other members.”

Source:- The Independent Tuesday 14 May page

Tories launch campaign to champion the

The Conservative party has launched a campaign to persuade
people that they will champion the most vulnerable in society.

The shadow work and pensions secretary David Willetts spent last
night with homeless people, refugees, the mentally ill, charity
workers and police in London to experience life at the sharp

His all-night tour was intended to counter scepticism about Iain
Duncan Smith’s crusade to reposition the Tories as the party
that will represent the interests of the vulnerable.

Source:- The Independent Tuesday 14 May page

Scottish newspapers

Asylum centres ‘Recipe for Racial

The home secretary’s plans for large-scale accommodation
centres for asylum seekers are a “recipe for racial tension”, it
was alleged today.

The home office is expected to announce the sites for the three
750 bed centres today.

The centres will house asylum seekers for up to six months while
their applications are decided, and will provide healthcare and
education on site.

The home office has been looking at sites including Sully
hospital at Cardiff, ministry of defence land at Throckmorton,
Worcestershire, Hooton Park at Ellesmere Port, former RAF
Turnhouse, Edinburgh, MOD land in Bicester, RAF Newton in
Nottinghamshire, RAF Hemswell in Lincolnshire and land near
Killingholme power station at Grimsby.

Keith Best, chief executive of the immigration advisory service,
argued that Blunkett’s plans were misguided: “Everybody is
not against the concept of reception centres or accommodation
centres, but against the size and location.”

“What the home secretary has done is created a recipe for racial
tension which seems to me extraordinary,” he added.

Source:- The Scotsman Tuesday 14 May 2002

Police find 45 illegal entrants at rail

Police arrested 45 illegal immigrants at the Channel Tunnel
freight train depot last night, it has emerged.

It is believed the group stowed away on a freight train
travelling from Frethun in France to Dollands Moor depot in Kent
not long before midnight yesterday.

Their cases were being processed by immigration services in
Dover today.

Source:- The Scotsman Tuesday 14 May 2002

Welsh newspapers

Tsar for healthy welsh babies to be

The Welsh assembly is to appoint a breast feeding tsar in an
attempt to improve the health of children in Wales.

Health and social services minister Jane Hutt launched the
initiative following research that showed that mothers in Wales
were failing to heed the message that ‘breast is

Research also shows that the mothers who are least likely to
breast feed their babies are from the poorest backgrounds.

In launching the initiative, Hutt said the new appointment would
be aimed at boosting the support network for mothers as well as
ensuring there were comfortable public places to breast feed.

Source:- Western Mail Tuesday May page 1

Plaid rejects bequest from author

Plaid Cymru has turned down a bequest from alleged paedophile,
John Owen it was revealed yesterday.

Owen killed himself last year, just one day before he was due to
stand trial accused of sexually abusing four boys at a school in
south Wales where he once taught drama.

The children’s commissioner for Wales Peter Clarke set up
the Clywch inquiry to look into the allegation of abuse following
Owen’s death. The inquiry was adjourned indefinitely just
over a week ago when the police decided to investigate fresh
allegations against another teacher at the school.

A spokesperson for the party would not say why the bequest had
been turned down, and added that in the light of the Clywch inquiry
no further statement would be made.

Source:- Western Mail Tuesday 14 May page 1

Social services have failed to improve

A damning audit commission report published last night says that
Caerphilly social services department in south Wales has shown few
signs of real improvement. The council was at the centre of
controversy after a series of child protection cases were
highlighted in the late 1990s.

The report says that although there has been a substantial
increase in spending on social services, the service is not yet
serving people well and despite some encouraging signs, prospects
for the future are uncertain.

Health and social services minister in the Welsh assembly, Jane
Hutt has called for an urgent meeting with council leaders to
discuss the problems identified.

They include delays and backlogs in responding to children in
need and children with disabilities.

Source:- Western Mail Tuesday 14 May page 2





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