Thursday 17 October 2002

By Clare Jerrom, Nicola Barry and Alex

Lords join forces to wreck Blair’s gay adoption

Tony Blair’s plans to allow same sex couples to adopt children
was defeated in the House of Lords last night.

An alliance of Conservative peers and 20 Labour rebels wiped out
key parts of the Adoption and Children Bill leaving only married
couples and single people eligible to adopt.

Government sources suggested that MPs would be given the
opportunity to overturn the defeats inflicted on the bill.

The bill originally aimed to make it easier for married couples
to adopt, but clauses allowing cohabiting couples were added by
Labour MPs and backed by the prime minister.

Source:- The Times Thursday 17 October page 1

Couple sue over violent child they adopted

A couple began a claim for damages in the high court last night
after they claimed a child they adopted had ruined their lives.

Essex council failed negligently in its duty as a statutory
adoption agency in letting them adopt the boy, who was aged five at
the time. Gavin Millar QC for the couple told Mr Justice Buckley
that they would not have adopted the boy had they known how he
would turn out.

The child left their care in 1999 and now lives at a residential

The boy spoke no English, swore and was aggressive, angry and
violent with knives.

Part of the couple’s claim for compensation is under the human
rights act as they claim the decision to place the boy with them
violated their right to respect for their home and family life.

The boy, who suffers Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder,
was on his sixth placement two years before his adoption, the court
was told.

The hearing continues.

Source:- The Times Thursday 17 October page 11

Pupil relents

One of the two boys, who was expelled after he made repeated
death threats to a PE teacher, has agreed not to return to

A local authority appeals panel had said the two could return to
Glyn School in Ewell, Surrey, but support staff voted to strike in

Source:- The Times Thursday 17 October page 11

Split of services for children and elderly

Health secretary Alan Milburn announced yesterday that social
services departments would be broken up into separate units for
children and older people under plans for local government.

Child protection and family support should be run by children’s
trusts, based in local authorities, but with powers to contract
services to charities, private firms and not-for-profit

Care trusts, based in the NHS, would provide services for older
people and their clients would be given the opportunity to receive
help in cash to buy services directly instead of relying on the
public sector.

Milburn said there would be legislation in the next session to
provide statutory backing to what his department describe as a
“dramatic reshaping of how social services are organised and

The splitting of departments is likely to be the first of a
series of reforms the government will introduce in response to Lord
Laming’s inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbie. Its report is
to be delivered to Milburn shortly.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 17 October page 7

Police warning on child stalkers

The police fear that stalkers including paedophiles bombarding
children with emails and text messages is spiralling out of control
as the offences are largely being under-reported.

Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir John Stevens, said
the figures for child stalking cases investigated by detectives
remains relatively low, there was a “popular misconception” that
this type of harassment was exclusively associated with

Launching a leaflet yesterday aimed at rising awareness, Stevens
said the overwhelming majority of those targeted were ordinary
people and that “children can just as easily be victims”.

“The methods of stalking are not restricted to following a child
or youngster about,” he added. “They take many forms, including
sending letters, emails, telephoning and texting.”

In the past 12 months 121 cases of children aged 10 to 18 being
stalked have been investigated by the Met. Most were girls.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 17 October page 7

Asylum seeker group to keep lottery grant

The £340,000 grant for an asylum seekers support group is
likely to be confirmed by the strategic grants committee of the
lottery Community Fund next week.

However, it is likely to attach conditions such as removing what
it deems inflammatory material from its website.

The board will on Tuesday consider five options after ministers
asked them to review the award to the National Coalition of
Anti-Deportation and Campaigns.

Legal advice to the Community Fund has confirmed that it cannot
rescind the grant without evidence of lawbreaking.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 17 October page 8

Overhaul of schemes for poorest areas to cut ‘stifling’
red tape

Initiatives for Britain’s poorest areas are to be overhauled
following criticism that Whitehall is stifling its own projects
with red tape.

Minister for Social Exclusion, Barbara Roche has announced
changes to many schemes to improve the education, health and
policing of deprived inner cities.

The number of “funding streams” would be halved and unnecessary
bureaucracy cut, she said as she unveiled the results of a
year-long review of the programmes yesterday.

Source:- The Independent Thursday 17 October page 8

Scottish newspapers

Dying to grow up

They are supposed to handle puberty much better than boys. So
why is suicide on the rise among teenage girls who have it all?

Source:- The Scotsman S2 October 17 page 8

Lords play nanny over gay adoptions

About 5,000 children in the UK are waiting to be adopted, a
complete reversal of the situation 50 years ago when the number of
couples wanting to adopt exceeded the number of children needing

Despite the urgent need to find parents for these children, the
House of Lords rejected an amendment to the Adoption and Children
Bill allowing gay and unmarried couples to adopt children.

Source:- The Scotsman October 17 page 10

Danger:- Having a baby is bad for your

The pressures of parenthood lead to more than half of all
unmarried couples to separate, research has found.

Source:- The Scotsman October 17 page 4

Crown to appeal killer’s ‘lenient’
jail sentence

A controversial seven-year jail sentence imposed on a father who
killed his two infant sons is to be appealed as “unduly lenient”,
it was announced yesterday.

Lord Carloway’s sentence on Ian Metcalfe provoked
widespread disbelief, and the Lord advocate, Colin Boyd, QC, has
decided to try to have it increased.

At his trial, Metcalfe was accused of murdering his two sons,
Kyle, 11 weeks, in 1988, and Dylan, five months, in 1996.

Source:- The Scotsman October 17 page 4

Welsh newspapers

‘Vulnerable People Put At Risk’

Vulnerable people in Wales are being put at risk by delays in
getting them the support they need, a new report reveals.

The report from the Audit Commission and the Social Services
Inspectorate for Wales shows that only two out of the eight
councils most recently inspected were found to have promising
prospects for the future.

Delays faced by service users in a minority of councils were,
according to the report, serious enough to put some children at

The report covers joint reviews carried out in authorities
between October 2000 and September 2002, including Cardiff, which
was heavily criticised last month.

Sue Mead, assistant review director at the Audit Commission,
said that overall the inspection showed that councils had some way
to go to provide timely flexible services that keep people safe,
but that there was room for cautious optimism.

Source:- South Wales Echo Wednesday 16 October page

Tragic children caught in crossfire of domestic

A feature supporting the NSPCC Full Stop Campaign aimed at
putting a stop to child abuse.

The article looks at the link between domestic violence and
child abuse deaths with a recent NSPCC report showing that eight
out of 10 young people who suffered serious physical abuse came
from a home where there was domestic violence.

The feature looks at the work of the Domestic Violence
Prevention Service (DVPS) that provides support services to family
members who have experienced the trauma of domestic violence.

Source:- Western Mail Thursday 17 October page 17

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