News round-up: Child protection system is still failing

Watchdog finds child protection system is still failing to safeguard children

Councils are still failing to learn from their mistakes in some of the most serious cases of child abuse, despite the renewed focus on safeguarding in the wake of the Baby Peter tragedy, inspectors say today.

A report from the childrens’ services watchdog, Ofsted, into 173 serious case reviews in the year to April 2009, found that the “failures and deficiencies” of social workers and other agencies, which were too often seen in cases where young people died or were injured, were almost unchanged from the year before.

Read more in The Guardian


Boy, 8, has ‘sex change’

Josie was diagnosed as transgender at the age of six.

Her sex has been legally changed and she will undergo surgery and drug treatment to help her grow up as a woman.

Her family, from Arizona, tell their story as part of a new Channel 4 Bodyshock documentary to be shown next week.

Read more in The Telegraph

Shadowmancer author Graham Taylor stops writing to care for sick daughter

Mr Taylor, who writes under the name GP Taylor, became a leading light in the literary world when he sold the rights to his first book, Shadowmancer, for £314,000 – three times the advance JK Rowling got for the first Harry Potter story.

As well as writing he also dabbled in the priesthood and the music industry, working with musical heroes like the Sex Pistols.

Read more in The Telegraph

Adult autism sufferers ‘cast adrift’

The Commons public accounts committee said too many went unhelped unless they developed more serious problems.

It demanded action to get more people with autism into work, following research which found only 15 per cent were in full-time work despite having valuable skills.

They launched an investigation after public spending watchdog the National Audit Office found half the estimated 400,000 adults in England with autism may be falling through the gaps.

Read more in The Telegraph

Boy, 2, fighting for life after being mauled by two Staffordshire bull terriers

A boy is fighting for his life in hospital after being mauled by two Staffordshire bull terriers.

Neighbours of the boy said the child suffered horrific injuries after being bitten on the face.

Read more in The Daily Mail

End of bedtime stories is wrecking our children’s speech, warns Government’s new ‘communications champion’

The decline of the bedtime story is damaging children’s speech development, the Government’s first communications adviser has warned.

Youngsters increasingly lack basic skills as parents are spending less time reading stories and talking to children, according to Jean Gross.

Pupils are starting primary school with a speaking age of just 18 months and an inability to form simple sentences, she said.

Read more in The Daily Mail 

Prison for man who let three-year-old girl smoke

A man who allowed a three-year-old girl to smoke cigarettes was today jailed for 18 months.

In mobile phone footage taken by a 14-year-old girl, Graeme Conroy, 31, is seen handing the lit cigarette to the child and encouraging her to inhale.

Conroy was caught when a neighbour became aware of the video and told police, Newcastle crown court heard.

Read more in The Guardian

Urban residents living near parks are healthier and less depressed

City dwellers living near parks are healthier and suffer fewer bouts of depression, a study has revealed.

The study was adjusted to take into account socio-economic background and found that the effect of green surroundings was greatest for people with low levels of education and income.

Read more in The Times

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