A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

Including headlines from Saturday and

See below for newspapers in Scotland and

By Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

More inmates to be released early

Offenders with prison sentences of four years or less may be
released under plans aimed at reducing overcrowding in prisons.

Burglars, fraudsters and non-violent robbers would be allowed to
go home under a night time curfew, monitored by an electronic

The proposal to extend early release to cover those jailed
between 12 months and four years is one of a number of emergency
plans being discussed by prison chiefs in Whitehall, as the prison
population hit a record 71,233.

Currently, it covers those jailed for up to one year.

Source:- The Times Saturday 29 June page 2

Goody bags will help lads to be good dads

New fathers are to be given a magazine offering parenting advice
under government proposals to counter the “only mums matter”, and
encourage men to take paternity leave.

Secretary of state for trade and industry Patricia Hewitt is
also examining the possibility of launching a “goody bag” for new
fathers similar to packs received by pregnant women.

Jack O’Sullivan, of the charity Fathers Direct, which is
in discussion with the department about producing the magazine,
said men were crying out for an impartial source of advice on how
to be a good father.

Source:- The Times Saturday 29 June page 6

Schoolboy guilty

A judge has hinted that he may impose a custodial sentence on a
teenager who tried to persuade his girlfriend to commit

A jury at Swansea crown court found the 15-year-old schoolboy
guilty of trying to persuade his girlfriend to jump off a jetty at

Judge Gerald Price adjourned the case for sentencing, but said
he was considering imposing a prison sentence.

Source:- The Times Saturday 29 June page 10

Drunk on flight

A care worker has been jailed for four months for terrorising
passengers on a holiday flight from Newcastle to Tenerife.

Charlotte Davies drank a bottle of duty-free rum to combat her
fear of flying before spreading panic on the aircraft and forcing
the pilot to divert the flight.

Source:- The Times Saturday 29 June page 15

Teachers obliged to report abuse

Teachers who fail to report evidence of child abuse can be taken
to court under the tightening of new legislation, the department
for education and skills said yesterday.

Schools and local education authorities are being given a legal
duty for the first time to promote and safeguard the welfare of
their pupils. Ministers agreed to amend the education bill, which
is passing through the House of Lords, and a new clause was
introduced during the bill’s report stage this week.

Further education colleges will also be covered by the law.

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 29 June page 6

Court fight for abandoned son

A British woman who abandoned her baby near Faro airport in
Portugal as she fled the country with the baby’s father, will
ask a judge on Monday to make him a ward of court in a bid to win
her son back.

Katherine Penny and Mark Beddoes, who have split up since
returning to Britain, face charges of criminal abandonment if they
return to Portugal.

The baby, who is eight-months-old was born with a cleft palate.
He had corrective surgery in Portugal in February.

Mr Justice Sumner, sitting in the family division of the high
court, will hear the application in private.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Saturday 29 June page 6

Mental unit rape charge

A man has been charged with the rape of a 60-year-old woman on a
ward at a mental health unit.

Maurice Castillo, of Ealing, west London, is accused of
attacking the patient at the Brent Ward at the John Connolly Unit
of the West London Mental Health Trust earlier this month.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Saturday 29 June page 10

Teenager held over death of teacher is sent to mental

A teenager, who has been arrested on suspicion of the murder of
a teacher last week, was referred by police to a secure unit under
the Mental Health Act yesterday.

Doraj Miah will have a 28-day assessment. He was held last week
after Hazel Prager was found dead on a footpath in Essex.

A health service trust inquiry has already been opened after
Miah was turned away from 24-hour emergency centre for people with
mental health problems, hours after Prager was killed.

A trust spokesperson said that Miah was assessed by an
experienced nurse and “seemed calm and settled”.

Source:- The Independent Saturday 29 June page

Samurai sword maniac is freed after two

A man, who rampaged naked through a church with a Samurai sword,
has been released from a secure mental ward after just two

Eden Strang has responded well to treatment, according to a
panel of experts, and is fit for freedom.

Strang’s victims were told at his trial in June 2000 that
he would be held indefinitely. But it has emerged that he has been
released into a hospital and is under far less supervision.

Strang was not imprisoned following his rampage as he pleaded

He lashed out with the sword at a church in Thornton Heath,
south London, leaving 11 people badly injured.

The judge was told he was suffering from schizophrenia, and he
was told by voices in his head to carry out the attack.

Source:- Daily Mail Saturday 29 June page 40-41

Rebellion over plans for ID cards

David Blunkett will call for a national debate on introducing ID
cards for everyone living in Britain.

More than 100 pressure groups and unions vow a ‘war of
attrition’ against the plan that the cards must be carried to
gain access to public services such as health, benefits and

Home office officials have made it clear that the home secretary
is to push for some form of ID card, to be called an
‘entitlement card’.

He will launch a six-month consultation with a decision by the
end of the year.

Blunkett has allegedly told colleagues that the fight against
illegal working, identity theft, benefit fraud, terrorism and
illegal immigration is helped by ID cards.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 30 June page 1

Blair tackles violent schools

A Downing Street summit on bad behaviour in schools is to be
chaired by Tony Blair, as the discipline crisis threatens to spiral
out of control.

The prime minister and education secretary Estelle Morris have
invited head teachers to Number 10 to plan a crackdown on the

Teachers have complained of increasing violence and bad
behaviour in schools.

Blair will demand that local authorities make greater use of
parenting orders.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 30 June page 2

The treatment of the mentally ill that shames us

The professional body which will have to implement the
government’s Mental Health Bill will condemn the idea of
locking up people with mental health problems before they have
committed any offence as “ethically corrupt” and “morally

The attack by the Royal College of Psychiatrists is backed by
the Law Society, Labour MPs and opposition parties.

The draft Mental Health Bill, that aims to close a loophole that
allowed Michael Stone to go free before murdering Lin Russell and
her six-year-old daughter, even though he had been diagnosed with a
severe personality order, will require people with mental health
problems to submit to compulsory treatment.

But critics believe it will force psychiatrists to act as
police, locking people before they have committed crimes.

Source:- The Independent Sunday 30 June page

Communication ‘lapse’ freed sword

A man with mental health problems, who attacked 11 churchgoers
in south London with a Samurai sword, was discharged from a mental
health hospital as a result of a breakdown in communication between
psychiatrists and police, Scotland Yard said yesterday.

Eden Strang was freed in March, 21 months after a judge said he
should be detained indefinitely.

Police are to hold an urgent meeting with health

Source:- The Sunday Times 30 June page 26

Cannabis to be ‘legalised within

Cannabis will be decriminalised despite public concern that it
will lead to an explosion in drug abuse.

Home secretary David Blunkett is to risk a public backlash by
announcing in July his plans to reclassify cannabis, allowing those
who possess it to escape arrest.

The plans could see the drug effectively legalised across
Britain by the end of the year.

Ministers and police chiefs say the pilot scheme in Brixton,
south London, has been an “undoubted success”, allowing police to
concentrate on tackling street dealers and violent crime.

Source:- Sunday Times 30 June page 1

Abuse law ‘threat to teachers’

Teachers unions fear that new legislation making teachers
responsible for reporting suspected child abuse to social services
could result in schools being sued and teachers being sacked.

Changes proposed in the education reform bill, which is passing
through the House of Lords, were tabled following the death of a
six-year-old girl whose abuse went unreported by teachers.

Lauren Wright died after being punched so hard that her
digestive system collapsed.

The National Association of Schoolmasters and Union Women
Teachers said the amendments to the bill could greatly extend a
school’s duty of care: “We believe it is a mistake to write
into legislation a duty which has arisen from an admittedly tragic

Source:- The Times Monday 1 July page2

RAF care homes in debt crisis

The organisation that looks after RAF men and women is more than
£3 million in debt and could lead to hundreds of former
workers losing their homes.

The Royal Air Force Association operates 10 residential and
respite homes caring for more than 300 former service

The association has breached its £3 million overdraft and
is selling its London headquarters. St David’ House in Brecon
has also been closed with the possibility of further closures.

In today’s ‘RAF News’, the association’s president,air
chief marshal Sir Michael Stear, blames the crisis on mismanagement
and the failure to act on warnings given 10 years ago.

Source:- The Times Monday 1 July page 2

Surrogacy couples are rated the best

Couples who use a surrogate mother to start a family show
exceptional levels of love and parenting skills, according to
British psychologists.

These families are generally closer and better adjusted than
conventional families.

Fears that such couples would have difficulty bonding have been
dispelled as the research shows the opposite. Babies born to
surrogate mothers show no differences in temperament or behaviour
from those who are conceived naturally, and the couples who raise
them score well on four out of five standard measures of

The Family and Child Psychology Research Unit at City University
in London, also found the majority of surrogate mothers experience
no emotional problems when handing children over to families who
commissioned them.

Source:- The Times Monday 1 July page 3

Smack of firm parenthood ‘works for one

Smacking works best when carried out by a loving parent in a
situation where it is essential the child obeys immediately.
However, it does not work as a punishment in the long term, and may
worsen child behaviour.

Elizabeth Thompson Gershoff of Columbia University carried out
one of the biggest studies on smacking, and found children aged 10
to 12 were harmed most by smacking.

Smacking cannot be recommended, she says, because there is no
evidence that it has positive effects. But she accepts that
parenting devoid of any punishment is likely to increase bad
behaviour in children.

In the July issue of the American Psychological
Association’s ‘Psychological Bulletin’, Gershoff says:
“Corporal punishment does not teach children the reasons for
behaving correctly, does not involve the communication of the
effects of children’s behaviours on others, and may teach
children the desirability of not getting caught.”

Source:- The Times Monday 1 July page 3

Youth held for murder

A 17-year-old youth has been arrested on suspicion of murder
after police were called to a house in Leverington, Cambridgeshire,
on Saturday, and a 23-year-old man later died in hospital.

Source:- The Guardian Monday 1 July page 9

Patients ready to go abroad, BMA poll finds

Two thirds of NHS patients would travel lengthy journeys for
major surgery if it avoided waiting for treatment, a British
Medical Association poll has found.

It emerged that 41 per cent of patients would travel abroad, and
a further 27 per cent would travel anywhere in Britain to avoid
queuing for operations.

More than half – 51 per cent – thought the service
to NHS patients would improve if there were a mix of providers,
including private hospitals.

Source:- The Guardian Monday 1 July page 10

Children’s stress a growing problem

Children’s stress levels are worrying two thirds of
parents, with teenage girls being the greatest cause for concern,
according to a survey.

The findings reinforce research that has found growing rates of
depression and anxiety in children, with an estimated one in five
children experiencing mental health problems.

The survey for national helpline Parentline Plus said 66 per
cent of parents were worried about children’s challenging
behaviour, which they attributed to distress or anxiety.

The majority of calls concerned teenage girls, with 23 per cent,
followed by boys aged nine to 12 with 18 per cent.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Monday 1 July page 9

Measles soar as parents say no to MMR

There were calls last night for a public inquiry into the MMR
jab following a dramatic increase in measles cases.

The number of children catching the disease has quadrupled, as
parents fear a link between the vaccination and autism.

Chief executive of the Patient’s Association Mike Stone
said: “We need an inquiry the public can contribute to. People have
lost confidence in the vaccination, and there are so many new
pieces of evidence coming forward.”

Source:- Daily Mail Monday 1 July page 1

Scottish newspapers

Older people may face rise in care costs

Older people may face a rise in the costs of residential and
nursing care, the architect of free personal care, Lord Sutherland
of Houndwood, has warned.

Sutherland said he had received reports of many independent care
units where price rises are already being planned. He also warned
that if the agreed fees do not increase then many more care units
will be forced to close.

Sutherland referred to an independent report saying that
£459 per week was necessary to cover care costs rather than
the £390 recommended for local authorities to pay in

Source:- The Herald Saturday 29 June page 6

Hundreds of older people may miss out on free personal

Voluntary organisations have warned that hundreds of older
people may miss out on free personal care when it is implemented in
Scotland on 1 July.

Age Concern Scotland is concerned that, despite hard work by the
Scottish executive and local authorities, many older people will
have failed to apply for the funding package.

Recent figures showed that in Edinburgh only a third of the
1,055 self-funders in private care had applied, and the ratios were
believed to be the same in other council areas.

Source:- The Scotsman Saturday 29 June page 8

Checks to stop care homes charging too much

There will be additional scrutiny by the Scottish executive to
stop private care home owners from cashing in on free personal
care, introduced today, by charging higher fees.

Frank McAveety, deputy health minister, admitted that the system
is open to abuse and criticised those who hoped to profit from the

Scottish Care, the umbrella group representing most private home
owners, said it was not aware of any homes seeking to benefit from
the changes.

McAveety said there was nothing that the executive could do to
stop private companies from “bumping up their prices”, but he hoped
that private care home owners accepted that the introduction of
free personal care was intended to benefit older people.

Source:- The Herald Monday 1 July page 5

Giving smacking a red card

Is there a new way for parents to discipline their children? A
full-length feature examines an innovative approach based on a
football-inspired system of yellow and red cards.

Source:- The Herald Monday 1 July page 12

Welsh newspapers

Autism hits 10 times as many as 10 years

Autism cases have risen 10-fold in the past decade, and policy
makers admit that Wales is unprepared to deal with the

A new Welsh Assembly all-party committee on autism said the
increase in numbers suffering from the condition has left support
services struggling to cope.

Although it is difficult to be precise on the exact number of
cases of autism as there is no central register, the Medical
Research Council said that there are 10 times as many cases as
there were a decade ago.

Assembly member Dr Dai Lloyd who chairs the Welsh committee said
that the rise in autism is one of the greatest challenges facing
policy makers in Wales.

Source:- Western Mail Monday 1 July page






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