A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom and Alex Dobson.

Tories fail to prevent adoption by gay

A bid by Conservative MPs to prevent gay couples from adopting
children failed yesterday.

The attempt to bar gay couples from adopting children was led by
two Tory back benchers who last week broke a three line whip to
endorse extending joint adoption rights to unmarried couples, but
wished to confine this to heterosexual couples.

Andrew Lansley, MP for South Cambridgeshire, and Bob Walter, MP
for North Dorset, moved an amendment to limit the new definition to
a couple of different sexes.

Source:- The Times Tuesday 21 May page 18

Champion children, Tories told

The Tory party will be told to champion the cause of under
privileged children in poorly performing schools in the inner
cities, by the party leader Iain Duncan Smith.

Duncan Smith will say that his objective is to provide equal
opportunities in school for all children, particularly the most

Highlighting the difference in achievement between children in
inner city schools and those in more affluent areas, he said: “We
have been told it is unfair to expect children from inner cities to
strive for the same standards as everybody else. I say it is unfair
to expect anything less.”

Source:- The Times Tuesday 21 May page 18

Anti drug shock tactics

The government’s response to this week’s home
affairs select committee report demanding a rethink on drugs will
include a new move to halt the main crack cocaine route into
Britain, and a decision to show anti drugs videos to school
children as young as 10.

Ministers are concerned that the report will damage the
government by revealing its drugs policy has been characterised by
incompetence, unachievable targets and mixed messages.

The measures are also likely to offset the impact of other more
liberal medium steps to be taken by the government, including
downgrading cannabis possession.

Customs minister Paul Boateng is to meet the Jamaican government
tomorrow to sign an agreement designed to block drug mules flooding
the British market with crack cocaine.

Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 21 May page 1

Child porn websites trigger 36 arrests

Thirty six people were arrested by police yesterday following a
crackdown on internet surfers who access child pornography.

Operation Ore targeted users of pay-per-view websites in the
United States which sells images of sexual abuse of children as
young as five.

Officers from around 30 forces in the UK searched 43 houses and
flats, seizing computers, discs and videos. Those arrested are aged
between 24 and 65.

The raids were planned by national crime squad after the
national crime intelligence service was told by American
authorities last August that child porn websites were receiving
hits by British surfers.

Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 21 May page 5

Criminal vetting system is failing, say

Just two months after its launch, the government’s pledge
to protect children and vulnerable people by giving employers
access to criminal records is in serious trouble.

The new body supervising the check, the criminal records bureau
has been hit by a back logs in processing claims, a computer crash
that led to loss of data and a boycott from the voluntary sector
over charges for registering 1.5 million people a year.

The home office admitted there was a backlog of 27,000
applications, but blamed a third on errors or illegibility.

Junior home office minister John Denham is to meet some of the
organisations complaining about the situation.

A home office spokesperson said: “The CRB is determined to meet
its customers’ expectations, and achieve its public service

“The CRB has significantly increased staff numbers in Liverpool
to reflect latest productivity forecasts. Working hours are being
extended from 14 hours towards 24 hours per day,” they added.

Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 21 May page 7

Bullying rife at young offender institute

Bullying, fights and assaults have been found by inspectors at
Onley young offenders institution.

Chief inspector of prisons Anne Owers said she found that Onley
in Warwickshire had unacceptable deficits in its education
programme, alarmingly frequent use of “control and restraint”
punishment techniques and a lack of trust between staff and

Owers said the regime for children on remand or awaiting
sentencing, who were locked up for 20 hours a day, was so
impoverished she ranked it as “one of the worst we have seen”.

“We felt that Onley was a long way from providing a safe
environment for all its young people, indeed for some vulnerable
children we did not believe it would have met the requirements of
the Children Act,” Owers said.

Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 21 May page 7

Jailed mother had 71 calls over truancy

The government announced yesterday that the mother jailed for
permitting her children to play truant had received 71 visits from
social workers in 12 months to try to ensure her daughters went
back to school.

Before Patricia Amos’ appeal tomorrow against her 60 day
sentence, the department for education and skills made the
announcement to show the prosecution was not a “slap-happy
decision” by revealing she had been prosecuted before for the same

An adviser to education secretary Estelle Morris said: “Every
help has been given to this woman over the years in an attempt to
get her children to attend school. The local authority
(Oxfordshire) has bent over backwards as the 71 contacts from May
2000 to May 2001 by educational social workers shows.”

Twelve days ago, Amos was sentenced to 60 days at Banbury
magistrates for failing to ensure her daughters Emma and Jackie
attended school. She became the first parent to be jailed for
allowing her children’s truancy.

Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 21 may page 7

UN rebukes Britain over smacking

The United Nations has condemned the government’s refusal
to ban physical punishment of children in a review of the
UK’s performance on human rights.

The UN committee on economic, social and cultural rights said
smacking by parents should be outlawed as part of the
government’s commitment under national treaties to uphold the
dignity of the individual.

Mary Marsh, director of the children’s charity NSPCC, said
the government should “learn from the experiences of many European
countries which are taking steps to consign hitting children to the
history books”.

Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 21 May page 7

Child porn priest jailed

A Roman Catholic priest has been jailed for nine months at
Reading crown court yesterday, after he was caught with 18,000
images of sexually depraved acts involving children.

Father Michael O’Kelly, former dean of Reading, was also
put on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years for
possessing material described as “disturbing, degrading and
disgusting” on videos, magazines and on computer disks at his

Source:- Daily Telegraph Tuesday 21 may page 2

Forced marriage to be treated as serious

Forced marriages should be treated as a “significant issue”
under new guidelines for police forces in England and Wales.

The guidelines, drawn up by ministers and the Association of
Chief Police Officers, say that forced marriages should be treated
as serious abuse.

The aim is to give anyone in danger of being bullied or coerced
into marriage access to a range of services, from legal advice to a
safe house, as well as a sympathetic hearing at the local police

Source:- Daily Telegraph Tuesday 21 May page 6

Welsh newspapers

Home care set for a major shake-up

Home care services in Blaenau Gwent in south Wales are likely to
be reorganised following a report by social services director Roger

The report highlights ‘severe pressure’ in the
borough’s home care system, and says that the current
arrangements are ‘out of kilter’ and ‘rooted very
firmly in a bygone age’.

Bone says that a shake-up will mean that those most in need of
services from the council will be prioritised. He insists that the
report is about putting the boroughs 1,400 recipients of home care
first, and that there ‘ought not’ to be any staffing
implications for the 350 staff in the authority’s in-house
care team.

Source:- South Wales Argus Monday May 20 page 13

AMs to tour Wales’ travellers’

Welsh assembly members are to visit travellers’ camps
across Wales as part of a review into provision for their

Small groups of assembly members (AMs) from the equal
opportunities committee will meet with travellers’
representatives on both official and unofficial sites to discuss
matters like education and health.

Later this week AMs will meet with the newly appointed adviser
on travellers, Dr Elizabeth Jordan, who will be helping during
their review of services for travellers.

Dr Jordan is director of the Scottish traveller education

Source:- South Wales Echo Monday May 20 page 17

Parents fight closure plan for care home that failed
inspection by council team

Parents are fighting plans to close a care home for children
with acute disabilities.

A Best Value review of services at the Nantgwyn respite facility
at Aberdare in south Wales, highlighted concern over levels of care
and unsuitable facilities, and the home has been earmarked for
closure by Rhondda Cynon Taff council.

At a public meeting yesterday, parents and staff voiced their
anger over the proposal, which will mean transferring the service
to an already oversubscribed facility 10 miles away at

Source:- Western Mail Tuesday 21 May page 5






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