Sunday, 30 September 2007

Caution over fall in number of Capital children 'at risk'

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WHEN Edinburgh's Liberal Democrat/SNP coalition took control, we inherited a financial mess. The budgets for the two largest departments within the City Council - Children and Families and Health and Social Care - had massive overspend.
To add to that, reserves are at the lowest levels ever. This is not responsible government and not the way we will do business.
Since May, I have had political responsibility for Health and Social Care, which delivers services to Edinburgh's older people and to adults with care needs. I have been impressed by the dedication of staff and the quality of many services.
Nothing, however, can disguise the fact the previous administration did not provide adequate funding for them. We have large waiting lists for key services and half of the disabled people waiting for supported accommodation are living at home with aging parents.
The budgets have also not kept pace with the needs of the increasing numbers of people aged over 75. The council has supported Scotland's free personal care policy and has recently had to refund charges for preparing meals for older people at home.

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Brown pledges personalisation of social care

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Gordon Brown today pledged to continue the government's personalisation of public services including giving people more control over social care budgets.
In his speech to the Labour party conference, the prime minister said older people would be given more choice managing chronic care and a wider range of services.
Brown extended the personalisation theme to children, promising one-to-one English and Maths tuition for 300,000 pupils as part of a 10-year children's plan.
He also outlined plans for one-to-one support for families and young people in trouble led by the voluntary sector.
Brown reaffirmed his committment to abolishing child poverty and said the pre-budget report would set out the next steps.
The prime minister also announced an expansion of nurse-family partnerships that are being rolled out to help deprived families.
He promised the new carers commission would "hear the call for change" from millions of carers and do more to provide respite care, training for carers and better pension rights, with a "new priority" of caring for disabled children.
His key message for crime and punishment was "punish and prevent," including a five-year sentence for anyone over 18 illegally carrying a gun and intensive education schemes on guns and knives in schools.

Woman admits trying to kill her baby

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AN EAST Lancashire woman has admitted trying to kill her baby.
The Rossendale woman, 38, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had earlier denied an offence of attempted murder.
But she pleaded guilty to the alternative charge of attempted infanticide at a hearing at Preston Crown Court yesterday.
The defendant was arrested and charged after she tried to suffocate the four-week-old child at the family home on June 26 this year, the court was told.
She will be sentenced at the end of next month after the judge, Anthony Russell QC, the Recorder of Preston, ordered a psychiatric report.
He told the court he would reserve the case so he could personally deal with it.
The child, whose identity is protected by a court order, is now living with relatives, the court was told.
The Infanticide Act 1938 provides that when a mother tries to kill her child, when the child is under 12 months old, and at the time the balance of the mother's mind is disturbed as a result of her not having fully recovered from the effects of giving birth, then the mother will be guilty of infanticide rather than attempted murder.

Special guardianship numbers treble as adoption falls

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The use of a new alternative to adoption increased threefold last year in England as the number of children adopted fell by 12%.
In the 12 months to 31 March 2007, 740 special guardianship orders were granted, compared to 60 in the first quarter of 2006, when the orders were introduced under the Adoption and Children Act 2002. During 2006-7, adoption numbers fell from 3,700 to 3,400.
Under SGOs, day-to-day regarding children are transferred to the special guardian but in a serious situation, such as a child being removed from the country, the birth parents are consulted, unlike with adoption.
David Holmes, chief executive of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering, said the drop in adoption levels was “concerning” as it is still an “important option” for children. He said he did not know whether SGOs were affecting adoption rates, but said the issue needed to be looked at.
Holmes also urged local authorities to come together to identify and apply best practice on SGOs, claiming current practice was inconsistent.

Medical doctors programme launched Jammeh warns against brain drain

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A six-year long Community Medical Doctors Programme was yesterday lauched by President Yahya Jammeh at the State House grounds in Banjul, where he emphatically warned against brain drain, which has been depriving the country of its cream, particularly in the public service.
The programme was conceived by President Jammeh in consultation with President Fidel Castro of Cuba, where the programme was invented. To this effect, a team of Cuban medical doctors and professors will train young Gambian students recruited from various communities, where they will operate after successfully completing the six-year programme, which is the first of its kind in Africa.
As a show of his devotion to achieving quality health care for Gambians, the President personally procured 44 brand new and state-of-the-art Dell computers, besides shouldering the capital cost for the take-off and success of the programme - divided into a cycle of 12 semesters. It was designed to deepen students’ knowledge and facilitate research in subject areas, thereby addressing the human resource contraints in the health care service delivery system of the country.
Launching the programme, President Jammeh said the iniative will help to realise the goals of Vision 2020 earlier than expected. He told the students that the success and failure of the programme depends on them. He informed the students that anyone who cannot stay up to the completion of the programme must leave, noting that students who wish to quit the programme half way ahead would not be accepted, as this would derail the objective. He disclosed that it costs at least £13,000 to train personnel in similar programmes in the UK.

Report Shows Significant Gaps in Government Policy on Trafficked Children in UK

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A new report launched today by UNICEF UK and ECPAT UK shows that, despite recent moves made by the UK Government to demonstrate its commitment to tackling child trafficking, there are still significant gaps and inconsistencies in child protection standards for trafficked children in the UK compared to international standards.
The report, ‘Rights Here, Rights Now: Recommendations for Protecting Trafficked Children’, calls for a number of solutions, including providing each trafficked child with a guardian to uphold their best interests, ensuring data on child trafficking is monitored and reported to Parliament, and providing trafficked children with renewable residence permits to secure their legal status.
David Bull, Executive Director of UNICEF UK, said, "The trafficking of children is a global problem. Every year, 1.2 million children become victims of trafficking. They are secretly transported across borders and sold like commodities or trafficked within countries for the sole purpose of exploitation. Some are destined to work in the sex industry and others as domestic servants and in sweatshops."
"The UK Government has taken significant steps to improve its response to tackling human trafficking, which we welcome, but while progress has been made, much more remains to be done. We are calling on the UK Government to address the gaps in its child protection standards for trafficked children in the UK and back up its UK Action Plan with policy commitments and resources," Mr Bull added.

New Report Shows Significant Gaps in Government Policy on Trafficked Children in UK

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A new report launched today by UNICEF UK and ECPAT UK shows that, despite recent moves made by the UK Government to demonstrate its commitment to tackling child trafficking, there are still significant gaps and inconsistencies in child protection standards for trafficked children in the UK compared to international standards.
The report, ‘Rights Here, Rights Now: Recommendations for Protecting Trafficked Children’, calls for a number of solutions, including providing each trafficked child with a guardian to uphold their best interests, ensuring data on child trafficking is monitored and reported to Parliament, and providing trafficked children with renewable residence permits to secure their legal status.
David Bull, Executive Director of UNICEF UK, said, "The trafficking of children is a global problem. Every year, 1.2 million children become victims of trafficking. They are secretly transported across borders and sold like commodities or trafficked within countries for the sole purpose of exploitation. Some are destined to work in the sex industry and others as domestic servants and in sweatshops."
"The UK Government has taken significant steps to improve its response to tackling human trafficking, which we welcome, but while progress has been made, much more remains to be done. We are calling on the UK Government to address the gaps in its child protection standards for trafficked children in the UK and back up its UK Action Plan with policy commitments and resources," Mr Bull added.

City recruits social workers from US

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A team of council officials arrived back in Birmingham last night after a week in New York recruiting social workers for the city.
A high level of staff turnover coupled with a national shortage of social workers resulted in the city council launching a trans-Atlantic search.
US-based recruitment firm UK Pro advertised vacancies for experienced social workers, who will earn between £19,614 and £28,221 plus a £1,000 "golden hello" after a year's service.
The 14 successful applicants are expected to take up their permanent posts by the end of the year, once visa and criminal record checks are completed.
The agency footed the bill for the three city council officers' flights, transport and accommodation, as well as the advertising campaign.
Councillor Keith Barton (Con Longbridge), chairman of the vulnerable children overview and scrutiny committee, said the trip was necessary against "the current backdrop of a national shortage in social workers".
He added: "We've employed individuals from America before but this is the first time we've actively recruited out there for vacancies in Birmingham.

Priorities and Perceptions of Disabled Children and Young People and Their Parents Regarding Outcomes from Support Services

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The growing recognition of the need to promote the well-being of children through the adoption of outcomes-focused practices and assessment by social care and other support services.
Download: Go To Story for This Download!
Bryony Beresford, Parvaneh Rabiee and Patricia Sloper.
Initially, the Looked after Children (LAC) framework defined seven dimensions on which the progress of children looked after by the local authority should be assessed: health, education, identity, family and social relationships, social presentation, emotional and behavioural development, and self care skills.
More recently, the government's Every Child Matters outcomes framework for all children and young people - focusing on the five outcomes of be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic well-being - has become central to all policy for children.
Similarly, the National Service Framework for Children, Young People and Maternity Services sets standards of good practice for services in promoting the health and well-being of all children, and emphasises the need for services to work together to achieve positive outcomes for children and young people.

Friday, 28 September 2007

Lessons to learn after Adam's suicide

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FOUR key lessons should be learned following the suicide of tragic teenager Adam Rickwood, health chiefs have been told.
Adam, 14, of Burnley, who died in August, 2004, after he was found hanged in a secure remand centre in County Durham, was a patient under the care of the children's and adolescent mental health team (CAMHS) run by East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.
A report by the Lancashire Safeguarding Children's Board made four recommendations which deal primarily with Adam's earlier care.
The first recommendation suggests that the trust should develop a policy in relation to drug and substance misuse, in child protection matters, for all youngsters, and not just looked-after children.
Child protection referrals should be explicitly considered' for any child admitted to hospital after deliberately harming themselves.
Timely psychiatric assessment of children and adolescents should be available in appropriate cases', says the report.
And when a child misses two or more CAMHS appointments, consideration should be given over whether a needs assessment should be carried out on an individual.

Child protection cases rise by 7% in two years

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The number of children in England subject to child protection plans rose by more than 7% between 2005-7, government figures out yesterday show.
There were 27,900 children on child protection registers as of 31 March 2007, the highest figure in seven years; 33,300 children were registered during 2006-7, while 31,800 were taken off registers, a net gain of 1,500.
Neglect and emotional abuse were the most common reasons for registration, accounting for 44% and 23% of cases respectively. Both have risen in prevalence since 2002-3, when neglect accounted for 39% of cases and emotional abuse for 18%. During the same period, cases of sexual abuse fell from 10% to 7% and physical abuse from 19% to 15%.

I'll never forget Georgie's coffin

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Girl died after her drunk fathers car went off the road
THIS is the shocking moment a father appears to lift a bottle of beer to the lips of his baby daughter.
Nine years later Georgie Shaw, by then 10, was dead after suffering severe head injuries when her father Darryl Shaw crashed the car she was travelling in into a lamppost after drinking around nine pints of beer.
Earlier this week, Shaw was jailed for two years at Swansea Crown Court for causing death by dangerous driving. The court heard he had been drinking all afternoon in a pub in their home village of Borth, near Aberystwyth, with Georgies mother Michelle Elmor, before leaving in their car to collect their daughter from school.
After continuing drinking with Georgie at their side, her father eventually ignored pleas not to drive and set off home with their daughter not wearing a seatbelt in the back seat.
Their Peugeot 406 careered into a lamp post after mounting a bank a short distance from the Railway Inn where they had been drinking last autumn.
Her father was left with a gashed forehead and her mother was physically unhurt, but Georgina suffered severe head injuries.

Clubs and groups for children urged to get involved in Child-Safe (Somerset)

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Child-Safe, a registered international charity, aims to promote the safe care of children and young people involved in community activities and provide practical advice. The scheme was pioneered by Avon and Somerset Constabulary and is supported in Somerset by the Local Safeguarding Children Board. Linda Barnett, Chair of the Local Safeguarding Children Board and Head of Children's Social Care, Somerset County Council said: "The aim of this scheme is to provide clear guidelines for staff and volunteers who run community groups. This should help ensure that children and young people are safe in their care. "It also enables groups to provide information for parents and children about the Child-Safe measures that are in place." The scheme is entirely FREE of charge. Group organisers/volunteers can attend any of the seminars organised monthly across Somerset. When your group registers with Child-Safe free resource packs will be provided. This together, with free child protection training will enable you to put in place measures that will deter potential abusers from joining your club and will close down the windows of opportunity that abusers seek.

Business Diary: Harriet doesn't like to think out of her red box

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My eye is caught by a question posed on Monday to the minister for women and equality, Harriet Harman, about how many ministerial red boxes were provided to her office over the past five years and what they cost.
It was asked by John Hemming, the businessman-turned-LibDem MP for Birmingham Yardley, who has always had an eye for the opposite sex, but it turns out that this is not another flirtatious move.
It's actually a serious(ish) experiment Hemming is conducting into how Whitehall departments answer or avoid written questions and he's had 19 replies so far.
Incidentally, Harman batted Hemming away. The tease!
On Bell's list: do Deutsche
I see that Deutsche Bank has hired Scott Bell as a managing director and global co-head of the consumer industry group. And good for them.
Not only do they gain a banker with gilt-edged experience from spells at HSBC and Goldman Sachs, but also one of the City's most organised figures, renowned for his extensive to-do lists.
I was once handed a copy of one of those from the late 1990s which contained all sorts of interesting things that Bell was planning to achieve (including some pretty personal stuff).
He also detailed ambitions to write his own recipe book, apply for work abroad, apply for FD positions, set up his own business, and a curious entry of "self pres" (self-preservation?).
I wonder how he's getting on with all of that?
Another sign of the times, as a press release from over-50s group Saga arrives bragging that the banking crisis has seen applications for its savings products double. Paul Green, a Saga spokesman, smooths: "We take no pleasure in the current troubles at Northern Rock."

Police defend drowning death case

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Police chiefs have defended two community support officers (PCSOs) who did not enter the water as a 10-year-old boy drowned in a pond.
Jordon Lyon leapt into the water in Wigan, Greater Manchester, after his eight-year-old stepsister Bethany got into difficulties on 3 May.
Two anglers jumped in and saved Bethany but Jordon became submerged.
The inquest into his death heard the PCSOs did not rescue him as they were not trained to deal with the incident.
Jordon was playing at the edge of the pond, known locally as John Pit, off Wigan Lower Road, in Standish Lower Ground, with his two brothers, stepbrother and stepsister on 3 May.
He was trying to support Bethany as she struggled in the six-feet-deep water before slipping from view.
Anglers managed to pull Bethany out but Jordon was out of sight before they could get to him.
The alarm was raised and the PCSOs arrived on the scene. Police said they could see no sign of Jordon in the water, so they radioed trained officers for help.
Greater Manchester Police said an officer was on the scene within five minutes.
Members of Jordon's family also rushed to the scene to join the search.

UK "must do more" to stop child-trafficking

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain is not doing enough to protect children who are trafficked into the country to work in the sex industry or as slave labour, two rights groups said in a report on Thursday.
Care and protection of such children is inconsistent across the regions and in some cases non-existent, they said.
Compared with other countries, Britain was being slow to stamp out the crime of trafficking.
The report called for trafficked children to be given renewable residence permits so that they can stay in the country to recover from abuses.
David Bull, executive director of UNICEF UK one of the co-authors of the study, said trafficking of children is a global problem and that every year 1.2 million of them become victims of the crime.
"They are secretly transported across borders and sold like commodities or trafficked within countries for the sole purpose of exploitation," he said.
Once in Britain, some were destined to work as sex slaves and others as domestic servants or in sweatshops.

Report slams child services

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Children's care services in the county are inadequate', according to a report into Hertfordshire County Council's approach to looking after young people.
The joint area review of the council's children's services ruled that provisions in two areas, safeguarding vulnerable children and caring for looked-after children, are inadequate'.
Councillors held a seminar last week to look into the findings of the inspection, which was conducted in April and May by officers from bodies including the Commission for Social Care Inspection, Ofsted and the Healthcare Commission.
The review criticised the fact that not all looked-after children in the county are allocated a qualified social worker. It also highlighted poor and inconsistent application of staff vetting procedures' and ruled that the council's staffing arrangements are weak'.
Although improvements have been made in some areas, the affect of services on children's prospects and outcomes was deemed inadequate'. The help given to youngsters with learning difficulties and disabilities was deemed adequate'.
Recommendations for improving services included ensuring that all staff and volunteers are subject to criminal background checks, and visiting children on the child protection register within set timescales.

Government Legal Service for Scotland

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If anyone wondered why the Scottish Executive, formerly the Scottish Office, and now renamed in it's latest incarnation, the Scottish Government, was always so shy to deal with people who, in desperation wrote to our 'governing administration' in Scotland because self regulatory bodies such as the Law Society of Scotland were and still are letting crooked lawyers off the hook on even the most serious of charges, they need to look at just how entrenched lawyers have become over the years in government & public services in Scotland. The Government Legal Service for Scotland, which of course is supposed to serve government and the people in terms of keeping the actions of Government, and the implementation of legislation within legal compliance, seems to have been serving the legal profession itself too, advising continually over the years, that any effort on the part of politicians to assist complainers against solicitors, should be resisted. The GLSS has also intervened in Parliamentary submissions by members of the public, censoring their content to withhold the names of solicitors identified in scandals & corruption, and notably, lawyers from the GLSS have also been involved in scandals from everything from the Dunblane Inquiry, to the Shirley McKie fingerprint scandal, to the Hep C contaminated blood products cover up, to just about every single scandal and inquiry you could think of which has happened in Scotland .... no surprise, that in most of these cases, even it seems, when some Ministers have been caught with dodgy mortgage expenses and other fiddles, legal advice from solicitors in the GLSS has been to delay, lose documents, filibuster, prevaricate, intimidate, seek records on people taking issue with government policy, and finding out information on critics with public standing, in efforts to weaken their case.

Fran Lyon Case: The hidden agendas

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Another week, another broadside in the propaganda war being waged against the nations child-protection system by the right wing press. And, as in any war, truth can be the first casualty.
The latest lopsided horror story concerns Fran Lyon, a pregnant 22-year-old who, according to the Sunday Telegraph, has been told that her baby will be taken from her [by Hexham social services] at birth because she is deemed capable of emotional abuse, even though psychiatrists treating her say there is no evidence to suggest that she will harm her child in any way.
The Daily Mails coverage, while based on some facts, is also provocative it suggests the issue boils down to Whose baby is it anyway?. Both papers have been running stories for some weeks now in support of MP John Hemmings campaign to portray social workers as legal baby-snatchers.
Normally, issues of confidentiality mean that the validity of such stories cannot be tested, but thanks to unique circumstances Lyon herself has offered confidential details and documents relating to her case to journalists the published truths of this case can be examined in some detail.
Details failed to emerge


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CHARLIE SHEEN is furious with ex-wife DENISE RICHARDS, after she filed a court order requesting legal protection for her children against their actor father. The former Bond girl, 36, filed the papers at Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday (19Sep07), in which she is seeking "the assistance of the court to obtain orders to protect her children" from Sheen, according to her lawyer Neal Raymond Hersh. Defending his client's actions, he says, "She believes that Charlie has significant personal issues which he has failed to address and which require her to take action to protect her children. "This is not a vindictive action. Any responsible parent in Denise's shoes would go to the ends of the Earth to protect her children." The document is yet to be released into the public domain, but according to papers obtained by Access Hollywood, Richards is concerned about the "inappropriate behaviour... and conduct" of the Platoon star, particularly his "attraction to underage women and his sexual explicitness on the internet, including revealing his private parts." But Sheen, 41, is not happy with the application to put an end to his daughters - Sam, three, and Lola, two - staying overnight and insists the accusations are false.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

New children's Centre for Ipswich

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ANOTHER new children's centre could open in Ipswich soon as part of a multi-million pound investment. Suffolk County Council has applied for permission to construct a new children's centre next to Rushmere Hall County Primary School, in Lanark Road, Ipswich. If agreed, this will be the 12th new children's centre to be built in Ipswich. The rest of the centres, which enable parents and children to spend time with other families in the area while also providing information and support, are due to be completed by the end of March, as part of a £5.5million investment package. Patricia O'Brien, Suffolk County councillor for children, schools and young people's services, said: “Children's centres are at the heart of Suffolk County Council's efforts to meet the needs of every child in the county. “I believe that by providing childcare facilities, resources for families and access to advice where it will be most valuable, we can help improve the lives of hundreds of children. “Building a new children's centre at Rushmere Hall County Primary School in Ipswich is an indication of how seriously we take the needs of children. Not only is it an investment in this part of Ipswich, it is also making help available in a place that is easily accessible to families.” The plans are part of a government initiative to get 35 centres up and running in Suffolk by April, 2008.

Carers save the UK '£87bn a year'

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The unpaid work of carers saves the UK £87bn per year - more than the total amount spent by the NHS in the last financial year, say experts.
The figure, calculated by the University of Leeds for the charity Carers UK, is up 52% since the last estimate, calculated in 2002.
The average person caring for a sick or frail relative is now estimated to save the nation more than £15,260 a year.
The government said measures had been taken to help carers, with more due.
The new figures are based on how much it would cost to provide alternative care if a carer was not available. This has been calculated at £14.50 an hour.
The total is more than four times the amount spent on social care services for adults and children by local authorities in the year 2005-2006.
Economy too reliant
Carers UK warned that the economy was over-reliant on care provided by family and friends - and if just a small proportion gave up it could have a disastrous impact.
It said many carers remained isolated and unsupported, with thousands living in poverty, unable to take up paid work or have a normal social life.
The charity said health and social care services had failed to keep pace with rising demand.
And the needs of those who required support were also becoming increasingly complex.

Major differences revealed in how local authorities in the UK support disabled people

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Diverse local authority policies and practices throughout the UK are making big differences to the uptake and operation of ‘direct payments’ – a system for supporting people who are receiving community care by enabling them to ‘purchase’ their own care. New research from the Economic and Social Research Council reveals that direct payments are being operated, and experienced, very differently in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Direct payments are funds paid by local authorities directly to disabled people, and other community care service users, to buy-in their own support, usually this takes the form of employing personal care assistants.
The payments, first introduced in 1997, have been controversial. Some have seen them as a covert means of privatising the delivery of public sector services, whilst for others they represent an important means of empowering those at the margins, of society by involving them as ‘co-producers’ of their services.
The research team, led by Professor Sheila Riddell of Edinburgh University, found:
The uptake of direct payments varied greatly between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In 2003-04, they found a total of 18 authorities making no use whatsoever of direct payments - of these, 11 were in Scotland, five in Wales and two in Northern Ireland. In England, all local authorities used direct payments. In some parts of Scotland, on the other hand, union resistance, and the identification of direct payments with ‘creeping privatisation’, has had a negative effect on their uptake. Throughout the UK, in areas with low take-up of direct payments, there was evidence of professional, managerial and local political resistance.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

5,477 children in care, HSE figures show

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A RECORD 5,477 children are in care, according to the latest figures from the Health Service Executive (HSE). The HSE has argued the rising number of children being taken into care reflects the nation’s changing demographics, with more children in the general population. The official figures show that by the end of June, the number of children in care had climbed to 5,477, including 423 in residential care.
That compares with the figure of 5,336 at the end of 2006, according to Barnardos, and a figure of 4,921 back in 2002. As of the end of June this year, a total of 4,731 children were in foster care. The HSE’s director of child and family services, Aidan Waterstone, said: “There is a gradual upward trend in the figures which is going to represent the changes in demographics and the bigger numbers of children in the population.”He said the number of children in care here was “not out of line” with international comparators.

Vanished: the child victims of trafficking

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180 children missing from social care after being brought illegally to UK
More than 180 children recently trafficked illegally into the UK have since gone missing without trace from social services care, according to a Unicef report warning that the government is failing to protect vulnerable youngsters brought into the country.
The study published today calling for new safeguarding measures says official figures significantly underestimate the "hidden crime" of child trafficking, which sees children as young as five brought secretly into Britain to work as domestic servants, in cannabis factories, or for sexual exploitation or under-age marriage.
According to the report, Rights Here, Rights Now, even if trafficked children are identified "their care and protection is inconsistent, ad hoc and, in some regions, completely absent". To help plug "gaps in the system", Unicef wants reforms including a professional guardian for each trafficked child to protect their interests.Most children identified and put into care, usually living in hostels or bed and breakfast accommodation, simply disappear. They may be lured away again by criminals or the same traffickers who brought them illegally into the country, according to campaigners.


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The protest is part of a three-day tour of three cities, Leeds, Liverpool and Derby. Stop Injustice Now campaigner Ian Walton, said: "We have 11,000 signatures so far and have had good support in all three cities." Derbyshire County Council has always stood by its decision to take Tammy into care and has promised to give Tammy all the information she required. The teenager says, however, that she is still waiting to receive papers relating to her case. Meanwhile, concern is growing nationally about miscarriages of justice. Family law solicitor Sarah Harman said: "Secrecy breeds bad practice. It feeds parents' sense of injustice when they have their children removed because they?re not allowed to talk about it."

Health boss backs 6% fund increase

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Health's chief officer, David Hughes, has criticised a lack of understanding about the costs of off-island and on-island care.
He supports minister Peter Roffey's call for a 6% increase in total funding to meet the rising cost of off-island care, which if ignored could lead to cutbacks in local services. Mr Hughes said it was important that people understood the differences between off-island and on-island care, the reciprocal health agreement and the consequence of health inflation. 'Quite simply, we are faced with ever-increasing costs of off-island care - something that we have no control over,' he said.'In reality, the cost of off-island care has increased by 300% in 10 years, whereas our overall Health and Social Services budget has increased by only 38%. 'If we don't have the money available in the off-island budget we can only pay the costs of care if we take from our budget for local services.'We have no other choice because we have to find the money from somewhere,' said Mr Hughes. The on-island budget covers the cost of local health services whereas off-island care includes long-term placement of between 90 and 105 islanders who need medical, educational or social care which cannot be provided in Guernsey.The reciprocal health agreement, which exists between Jersey, the Isle of Man and the UK allows for the cost of care for islanders who need short term or emergency treatment in those jurisdictions.


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A Swansea social worker has been dismissed after being found guilty of 19 charges of misconduct.Dermot Jones has been struck off the register of social care workers due to the seriousness of the charges.He has also been blocked from calling himself a social worker within the UK.The Care Council for Wales Conduct Committee said: "The committee has considered all the sanctions available to it and has considered that removal from the register is a proportionate response having regard to the seriousness of the misconducts, the number of incidents of misconduct, and the fact the charges cover a wide range of the registrant's practice.
Charges brought against Mr Jones, at the hearing held by the Care Council for Wales Conduct Committee, included allowing a child to have contact with its dad, in contravention of a Child Protection Agreement, providing false information on oath and allowing unsupervised access to children to take place.A spokeswoman for the CCWC said: "It is essential that the public have, and continue to have, confidence in the social care workforce. "This committee should be seen to be safeguarding this interest and the public in general from acts of misconduct by registrants."

How psychiatry blames the victim

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A man rapes a woman, her resulting PTSD is misdiagnosed as Borderline Personality Disorder.
Women who have been raped are traumatized and eligible for the non-punishing dx of PTSD, which sits on AXIS I of treatable mental illness.
BPD is an AXIS II diagnosis, the AXIS referring to disorders of the personality, that are by definition lifelong and untreatable. What this means is you will never put it behind you:
Fran Lyon is due to give birth to her first child - a daughter she has already named Molly - on January 3. But the prospect, far from being one of joyous anticipation, fills her with a dread that keeps her awake at night.
…For within 30 minutes of birth, barring any medical complications, Molly will be handed by doctors to social workers. They have instructions to take away Fran’s newborn baby and place her in foster care.
The 22-year-old will then be transferred from the maternity wing to a gynaecological ward, because Northumberland Council has decided that Fran - who has never harmed anyone in her life - is potentially a risk to other mothers and their babies.

Private firm care contract row

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A DECISION to award a council contract to a private firm in whose care three vulnerable clients have died in the last four years has been condemned by public sector union Unison.
Lifeways Community Care has been told it has won a contract with Labour-controlled Vale of Glamorgan Council to look after people with disabilities.
Last month a wheelchair-bound teenager in Lifeways’ care scalded to death in Oxford, and in 2004 the firm was criticised after a schizophrenic who had been in its care absconded from a mental hospital in Devon and was found drowned. In 2003 an 11-year-old Devon boy with special needs drowned in a swimming pool hours after his parents handed him over to carers contracted to Lifeways.
Unison also claims that Vale of Glamorgan Council has breached an Assembly Government agreement in the way its care services are being privatised.
Darron Dupre, regional organiser for Unison, said in a statement, “The time has now arrived for the Vale of Glamorgan Council to pull up the handbrake on its entire tender process for supported accommodation. The refusal of the council to consult or involve staff and Unison in this process has already placed them in breach of Welsh Assembly Government agreements on consultation (‘Partnership and Managing Change’) and a file on the process will soon be sent to Health and Social Services Minister Edwina Hart for her view.

Plea for child victims to have guardians

Full Story:
A guardian should be appointed for every trafficked child, a report into the child slave trade due out tomorrow (20 September) will say.
The Rights Here, Rights Now report by Unicef UK and Ecpat UK, a charity working to end the sexual exploitation of children, says the UK should follow the example of the Netherlands and provide trafficked children and young people with independent guardians.
The report says "the government should set up a system of guardianship for child victims of trafficking under statute". It adds that the guardian system should be independent of the government and immigration services, and guardians should be appointed as soon as a child who is a victim of trafficking is identified.
Guardians would work in the child's interests, ensuring they have access to appropriate care services, inform the child of their rights and help trace the child's family. They will also help such children access legal support and ensure repatriation only takes place if it is in the child's best interest. They would also have legal responsibility for the child until a long-term alternative arrangement is found.
Christine Beddoe, director of Ecpat UK, said guardians would need extra skills in addition to those of social workers since they would need to support children through the immigration system as well as provide more traditional social care. "The role of the guardian goes beyond that currently performed by local authority social workers," she said. "The guardian would help the child navigate the immigration system as well as ensure consistency of care in a way that is beyond what a social worker can do such as advocating for the child and navigating the maze of immigration issues these children face."

Jersey minister Syvret sacked after raising child care concerns

Full Story:
The Jersey health and social services minister who helped to spark a UK-led inquiry into children's services on the island has been sacked.
Stuart Syvret, who has been a member of the island’s parliament for 17 years, was forced out when 35 state members of the Jersey assembly voted to dismiss him last week, with just 15 backing him. He was officially sacked over allegations concerning his behaviour towards social services staff, ministers and civil servants.
But Syvret claimed he had been “sacked for whistleblowing” and accused state members of “whitewashing” his concerns over children’s services, including a former practice of holding children as young as 11 in solitary confinement for 24 hours.
Last month, UK social worker Simon Bellwood claimed he was sacked from his job as centre manager at Greenfields secure unit on Jersey after blowing the whistle on the practice.

Mother's fury at death accusation

Full Story:
A mother has told of her anger at being accused of killing her son, who was hanged, to a disciplinary panel.The General Medical Council has heard how paediatrician Professor David Southall told the mother she had drugged and murdered her son, aged 10.The doctor faces allegations of acting inappropriately and causing distress.The mother has also spoken of how her other son was taken into care on
Prof Southall’s advice. The doctor was working in Stoke-on-Trent at the time.Prof Southall, who was employed at the North Staffordshire Hospital, is accused of tampering with medical records, keeping secret medical files and abusing his position in relation to four children.In 2004, Prof Southall was found guilty of serious misconduct after accusing Steve Clark of murdering two of his sons. He was banned from child protection work for three years.The fresh allegations relate to cases in his care during the 1980s and 1990s.The boy in question died in June 1996 after fastening a belt around his neck and hanging from a curtain pole in the family home. An inquest recorded an open verdict.The mother, who worked as an operating department orderly at the local hospital, told the panel Prof Southall used an “aggressive and sarcastic” tone when questioning her.

The McCanns: Unbelievable truth or unimaginable nightmare?

Full Story:
Madeleine's parents have returned home to a storm of allegations, leaks and accusations. Cole Moreton and Ian Herbert in Praia da Luz sift the evidence
Kate and Gerry McCann returned to Britain six days ago with the tide of public opinion turning against them. The huge outpouring of sympathy and support that followed the disappearance of their three-year-old daughter Madeleine in Portugal on 3 May had given way to shock and confusion for many of their supporters when the couple were named as formal suspects by police.
They flew back to Rothley in Leicestershire with friends claiming they were being framed. But while many people could believe the McCanns were going through hell, others suddenly felt able to express rage.
A BBC Radio 5 Live phone-in on the McCanns on Monday was abandoned after a flood of critical calls. The Leicester Mercury had to withdraw a website opinion page "bombarded" with "nasty, spiteful and defamatory" comments. More than 17,000 people signed an online petition calling for Leicestershire social services to investigate the McCanns for leaving their children sleeping alone in Praia da Luz that night. Social workers did go to see them, but had been invited.

Landmark human rights battle by mum of six backed by campaigning MP

Full Story:
A MERSEYSIDE mum is making legal history by going to the European courts to get back her baby daughter, who was taken away and adopted.
In 2005, Pauline Goodwin, 39, had her three-day-old daughter taken away by social services.
She has not seen her baby girl in 15 months and has since been told that she was adopted.
Ms Goodwin said her fight to get her daughter back had been held up for more than a year because she was never given a copy of vital court paperwork to allow her appeal.
Now the Halewood mum-of-six is taking her case to the European Court of Human Rights in a groundbreaking case backed by a campaigning MP.
She said: “When they took her away, I made a promise to myself that I would never give up on getting her back.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

The Derby Protest 20,09,07

The Third Video Of Three, Continuing To Protest About The Injustice In The Family Courts. Recorded 20,09,07

See The Protest Page:
Watch Out For The Next Protest!

Monday, 24 September 2007

The Leeds Protest 19,09,07

The Second Video Of Three, Continuing To Protest About The Injustice In The Family Courts. Recorded 19,09,07

See The Protest Page:
Watch Out For Part Three!

The Liverpool Protest 18,09,07

The First Video Of Three, Continuing To Protest About The Injustice In The Family Courts. Recorded 18,09,07

See The Protest Page:
Watch Out For Part TWO!

Back Home In London!

The 'Stop Injustice Now' Team Are Back In London, After A Week Of Mixed Emotions.

A Lady From Halifax Had Her 2 Day Old Baby Stolen By Social Services. A Recording Made Public On 'You Tube' Prior To The Birth Of The Baby Girl, Stated That "Their Is No Danger To The Baby, But Threatened To Call The Police If She 'Left The Hospital'

Also This Week:
A Friend Of Our Friend, Sadly Passed Away Aged Only 27!

But On A Lighter Note:
The Demo's Went Really Well, We Collected Over 1500 Signatures This Week.
We Made The Media Again!
The 'Stop Injustice Now' Main Site Will Be Updated This Week, So You Can Catch Up With All The News, Protests, Gossip etc.
A Video Of This Weeks Events Will Be On-Line Soon

Friday, 21 September 2007

Calderdale Social Services Protest Demo Of The 31st August 2007

At Last I Found Some Video Of The Protest Of The Calderdale Protest In August.
In Support Of The Brookes Family!
It's Only A Short Video, But Will Give You Some Idea At What Went On!

Protest At Liverpool, Leeds & Derby A Success!

We Collect Over 1500 signitures In 3 days!
Our WebSite STOP INJUSTICE NOW - Will Up Dated On Monday The 24th September 2007
If You Want To See Any Video From This Event
Follow This Link
The Video Is Un Edited And Raw.
I Will Be Making A Video Of This Event On Monday.
We Are Away For The Weekend, So We Can Recope Our Selves.
That It For Now, Untill After The Weekend!

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Derby Protest 20-09-07 On Television

The Derby Protest Is Already Being Advertised On Central TV, If Anyone Can Record It And Email It To Me At It Would Be Great.
Like I Said Come Down To The Protest, You'll Be On Telly.
I Wan't To See Loads There!

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Derby Protest 20-09-07

Made It To Derby At Last, We Hope To See Loads Of You Their Tomorrow.
If You Want Your 15 Minutes Of Fame Come To The Protest And Give Your Support!
There Will Be Lots Of Media People At This One, Bring Banners, Flags, Megaphones and anything else That Makes A Noise. See You All Their!

Protest At Leeds Court 'Today 12:55'

About 15 People Are Here So Far, We Are Here Until 4 pm
Come And Give Your Support!
Don't Forget Tomorrow At Derby Courts,
As All The Media Are Going To Be Their, If You Want To Be On Telly, Come Along!

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Today’s Video Of The Protest Against Liverpool Family Court!

About 20 People Are Are The Liverpool Court This Morning. We Are Protesting About The Injustice Of The Family Court. You Still have Time To Join Us, We Are Here Until 4pm.
We Are In Leeds Tomorrow and Derby On Thursday.
Come And Support The National Campaign To Stop Forced Adoption In The UK Family Courts.
Video's Of Today's Event Will Be On Line Later.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Landmark human rights battle by mum of six backed by campaigning MP

Full Story:
A MERSEYSIDE mum is making legal history by going to the European courts to get back her baby daughter, who was taken away and adopted.
In 2005, Pauline Goodwin, 39, had her three-day-old daughter taken away by social services.
She has not seen her baby girl in 15 months and has since been told that she was adopted.
Ms Goodwin said her fight to get her daughter back had been held up for more than a year because she was never given a copy of vital court paperwork to allow her appeal.
Now the Halewood mum-of-six is taking her case to the European Court of Human Rights in a groundbreaking case backed by a campaigning MP.
She said: “When they took her away, I made a promise to myself that I would never give up on getting her back.
“Part of me is missing, because she is gone. My other children keep asking about her because there is a big gap in our family. It is terrible she isn’t here – she needs to come back home.”
Ms Goodwin has five other children and, when her marriage broke down in 2003, she had a breakdown.
She initially welcomed social services help, but never dreamt it would lead to her children being taken into care in February 2004.
Ms Goodwin was told it was because her home was messy and her children had missed school and medical appointments.
Social workers also claimed they had received anonymous reports about them being ill-treated or neglected.
Ms Goodwin said her children were always loved and well cared for.
Because her other children were in care, Ms Goodwin feared the same fate awaited her sixth child when she fell pregnant.
She was born in June, 2005. Three days later, Knowsley council went to court and the baby was taken into care.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

MP requests social services review

Full Story:
A Norfolk MP is campaigning for less secrecy and more detail when it comes to child protection cases. North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb is worried there is not enough being done to ensure the correct decision to remove or keep a child with the family is taken. He has discussed the issue with justice secretary Jack Straw who is reported to say he will review the situation. Mr Lamb has brought up his concerns after the case of The Webster family who fought to keep their fourth child after their older three were taken from them and adopted. The Websters have now been told they will not be unable to return to the family.

Adoption increase fails to stop baby deaths

Full Story:
A dramatic rise in the number of newborn babies seized by social workers for forced adoption has failed to reduce the murder rate among babies.
Despite the action by social services, intended to protect children at high risk, the number of deaths has actually grown.
Critics claimed that the figures showed that social workers were tearing apart innocent families, while failing to protect babies at the greatest risk.
The concerns will add fresh weight to The Sunday Telegraph's "Stop the Secrecy" campaign for greater openness in family courts.
At present, judges sit in secret when deciding adoption cases, raising fears that miscarriages of justice go unnoticed.
Earlier this year, the Government abandoned plans to let the media publish anonymised reports on cases.
In 1995, when 540 newborns were removed for adoption, there were 17 murders in which the victim was less than a year old. A decade later, in 2005/6, 1,400 were taken, yet the murder total rose to 24.
Liz Davies, senior lecturer in social work at London Metropolitan University, claimed the failures were due to new techniques introduced following the murder of Victoria Climbie.

Death sentence for family courts?

Full Story:
THE Government is coming under increased pressure to open up the family courts after a number of scandals and contentious decisions. Those for change say such incidents have proved that the authorities require public scrutiny to ensure they do their jobs properly. Those against say it could harm children at the centre of sensitive proceedings. PHIL DOHERTY looks at the arguments . . .
IN May last year, Harriet Harman, then Minister for Constitutional Affairs, said: “It is impossible to defend a system from accusations of bias and discrimination if it operates behind closed doors.”
Many campaigners saw this as a prelude to the family courts being made open to the media again.
Harman’s statement followed a series of high-profile scandals — including mothers being wrongly jailed for murdering their children — on flawed medical evidence which is often used in family courts as well.
Yet, when the changes did come, announced earlier this year by Justice Minister Lord Falconer, they did not include the courts being opened up.
More than 200 MPs and a growing number of former heads of social services, judges, solicitors and even Government Ministers are now campaigning to change that.
Ironically, it has long been believed that the courts were closed to the media in 1989 because of the Cleveland child abuse scandal, where around 120 children from Teesside were taken into care thanks mainly to evidence from experts using what was, even then, not an accepted method of diagnosis. It has now been wholly discredited.
The scandal came to the public’s attention after a media campaign, and many of the children were returned to their parents.
Charles Pragnell, a former senior social services manager, was involved in exposing the Cleveland Sex Abuse scandal. He said: “Many parents report that social workers and medical witnesses often fabricate, embellish and distort evidence against them. Some have even been found out in the law courts, but judges have just ignored it.
“Often, so-called evidence owes more to fanciful speculations and imaginative construction than to the presentation of observed facts. Unproven, discredited and scientifically fraudulent and other professionally disputed theories of child abuse are often presented to courts as facts or to cover up the absence of evidence. This is why the family courts must be opened up to the media.”
Ian Johnston, chief executive of the British Association of Social workers, is quick to disagree. He said: “We fought for 25 years to get independent regulation and in 2000 the Care Standards Act came into force.
“Social workers’ practices have improved considerably in recent years and we don’t feel that having open courts will improve those practices further.
“In care proceedings there is always going to be conflict and differences of opinion and we need to be very careful that we do not base perceptions of social work on one side of the story.”
A Justice Ministry spokeswoman said: “We need instead a new approach which concentrates on improving the information coming out of family courts, rather than on who can go in.”
Recently, the Sunday Sun highlighted the story of Fran Lyon — an expectant mum who could have her unborn child taken from her by Northumberland Social Services.
It is claimed she suffers from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, Msbp, where the sufferer harms somebody — usually a child — to get attention.

Madonna is "perfect mum"

Full Story:
EXCLUSIVE SOCIAL WORK BOSS GIVES MADONNA OK TO ADOPT DAVID WHAT HE SAW ON 3-DAY VISIT Madge and Lourdes talk to toddler David in his own language She bakes cakes in kitchen as kids play in African 'zoo room' The carpets are so luxurious it's like 'walking on sheep'
Madonna has been given the all-clear to formally adopt African tot David by the head of Malawi's Social Services.
The singer, 49, and husband Guy Ritchie played perfect parents to impress Malawi's chief social welfare officer Simon Chisale, who spent three days as a guest at their 16-bedroom London home.
Afterwards he said he was won over by their domestic bliss - especially when Madonna appeared from the kitchen wearing an apron fresh from baking cakes "looking like a perfect mum".
Mr Chisale visited over a 72-hour period with Madonna, Guy, 38, and their children Lourdes, 10, Rocco, seven, and two-year-old David.
He saw Madonna's music studio and Guy's study and also a special African "zoo room" which she has built to educate her children about David's continent.
He described the luxury carpets in their home as "like walking on live sheep".
ar the way for Madonna to complete the formal adoption of David.
Madonna and Guy - who have been through a rough patch - turned on the domestic charm to prove to the welfare officer that David has a secure family life.
Mr Chisale was delighted to discover just how far the family have gone to make David feel at home.
As well as the "zoo room" Lourdes and Madonna have even learned how to speak David's native Chichewa tongue.
The welfare chief, who arrived back in Malawi last week, told colleagues he was impressed with how David had bonded with the Ritchies.
And he was delighted to find a a butler waiting for him at the front door. He said: "He saluted and said 'Mr Chisale, I presume'.
"I found Guy in the sitting room. Madonna was in the kitchen. Guy said, 'The visitor is here!' Madonna came through wiping her hands with a towel.
"David was playing a card game with Rocco. Madonna told me he understands a bit of Chichewa and she fetched some tourist guide books to Malawi.
"She told me she has Malawian friends who pop in to teach the family Chichewa. She also has a Chichewa translation of her children's book, The English Roses."
Mr Chisale was taken to meet Madonna's daughter Lourdes - who greeted him in his African language saying: "Muli bwanji ankolo?"
"It means 'How are you uncle.' I laughed, I was amazed," he said. "She told me she had been in Malawi with her mum and David.
"When David heard her voice, he left the card game and walked to her.

Fatties, you need to get a grip

Full Story:
IN HIS report on National Health Service spending just published, Sir Derek Wanless warns that Britain's obesity epidemic is spiralling out of control. On current trends, he says, 33% of men, 28% of women and 20% of children will be obese (in other words, extremely fat) by 2010. Now it's official: far from slowing the incidence of obesity as it pledged to do, Labour has presided over a dramatic rise, one that threatens to bankrupt the NHS. No health service, however effective or well-funded, can ever cope with record numbers of ailing citizens suffering the consequences of obesity; conditions like diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
I had my own personal encounter with Britain's sprawling fat problem earlier this week while travelling back from holiday. I found myself on a full flight, sat next to an extremely fat woman whose body size exceeded the dimensions of her seat. "Would you mind if we left the arm rest up ?" she asked, explaining that she was "rather broad around the hips", an understatement of epic proportions.
Initially, I gave her the answer she wanted to hear, then hastily backtracked when I realised that this would mean enduring an eight-hour flight in an already cramped space with half of her ample frame occupying my seat. As it was, even trying to put the arm rest down proved impossible because it was constantly forced upwards by her bulging thigh. I felt sorry for the woman, certainly. She must have had a desperately uncomfortable journey. But I also felt put upon. How much longer before territorial disputes over plane seats become as commonplace as neighbour fights over Leylandii hedges ?
Travelling through airports offers a graphic demonstration of how we have totally lost the plot with obesity. Last year, in Beauvais airport outside Paris, I observed three check-in queues. The first two, bound for Stockholm and Amsterdam, consisted of people of a generally slim or at least normal build, a bit like British people would have looked like in the 1960s, say. The third queue, bound for Prestwick, was a national embarrassment. Almost everyone was overweight. They looked out of puff, self-conscious and robbed of any vitality they might otherwise have had by the burden of dragging around all those excess kilos. In denial, too, trying to squash themselves into the those jumbo-sized jeans now designed to accommodate sizes 18-32. How the prospect of returning home - where they might blend in with the rest of the plump population - must have appealed!

Straw rethinks councils' cash for adoption targets

Full Story:
Jack Straw is to review the Government's controversial policy of offering councils cash rewards to meet adoption targets.
Critics claim the nationwide system, introduced seven years ago by Tony Blair, provides a 'perverse financial incentive' to remove children from their birth parents.
Now the Justice Secretary has said he will rethink the Government's position following a meeting with Norman Lamb.
Mr Lamb, the Lib Dem MP for Norfolk North, wants social workers to keep more detailed records when they meet families whose children may be put up for adoption.
He has also expressed his concern that the secrecy which surrounds proceedings in the family courts may work to parents' disadvantage.
His campaign was inspired by the plight of two of his constituents, Mark and Nicky Webster, whose case has been championed in The Mail on Sunday.
The couple, from Cromer, won a landmark legal case last June to keep their fourth child, Brandon, after false allegations of child abuse meant their first three children were taken away in 2004. The older children have now been adopted and the Websters have been told they will not get them back.

Protest At Liverpool, Leeds and Derby Starts 18th September 2007

Full Advert With Directions:
Come And Show You Support!
Bring As Many People You Can, We Need To Make As Much Noise As Possible.
We Are In:
Liverpool On The 18th September 2007
Leeds On The 19th September 2007
Derby On The 20th September 2007
We Hope To See Lots Of Support Their!
Click On The Like Above For Maps And Directions.

Family launches new 'find Madeleine' advertising campaign

Full Story:
The family of missing four-year-old Madeleine McCann have announced the launch of a new Europe-wide advertising campaign.
The move is seen as a bid by the family to shift the focus away from suspicion on Madeleine's parents and back to the search for the missing girl.
The campaign was unveiled in the couple's home village of Rothley, Leicestershire, where Gerry McCann's brother John urged the public to remember "lovely wee Madeleine".
It is now more than a week since Kate and Gerry McCann were named formal suspects or "arguidos" by the Portugese police investigating their daughter's disappearance.
Leaked reports from the investigation have suggested the four-year-old could have been killed by her parents accidentally and then her body disposed of using their hire car.
But the McCanns strongly deny any involvement and today's announcement is a clear attempt by those near the family to bring the attention back on to the campaign to find Madeleine.
Up to Pfund80,000 will be drawn from the fighting fund set up to help the search for the missing girl, who disappeared during a family holiday to Portugal back in May.
The campaign is set to launch in two weeks and will focus on Spain, Portugal and other parts of Europe. It will involve newspaper, television and billboard adverts.
In a statement issued through a family spokeswoman, John McCann, who is also a fund director, said: "On behalf of the extended McCann family and the Madeleine fund, I would just like to say how grateful we are for people's generosity and support.
"The main objective of the Madeleine fund is to leave no stone unturned in the search for Madeleine.
"To that end, I would like to announce that the fund will finance a broad range of initiatives in advertising to remind everyone that Madeleine is still missing."
He added: "This financing of advertisements will complement previous efforts by the fund and many motivated individuals - family, friends and people touched by our cause.
"I hope that the general public will continue to support us in this. It is so important that we remember - "don't you forget about me' - our lovely wee Madeleine."
The announcement comes after the family said earlier this week that it would not spend proceeds from the fund on Mr and Mrs McCann's legal costs.

Saturday, 15 September 2007


Full Story:
Child protection team talk to McCanns at home
MISSING Madeleine McCann's parents met social workers yesterday to discuss their case.
Gerry and Kate McCann, who have two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie as well as four-year-old Madeleine, called for the meeting at home as a result of being named as suspects in her disappearance.
It is standard procedure for parents suspected of an offence overseas to have their case considered on child protection grounds.
It is understood Gerry, originally from Glasgow, and Kate were keen to meet officials from Leicestershire County Council and were given the choice of doing so at home or at the council HQ.
The meeting took place at their house in Rothley, Leicestershire, which has been under siege by the media since the family flew back from Portugal at the weekend.
Gerry's brother John McCann, who was staying with them, said: "They will co-operate with anyone who has the family's best interests at heart."
He added: "Kate has invited social services to make sure everything was OK. That was at her behest."
The decision by social workers to interview suspects depends on the degree and nature of the evidence made available.

Sex abuse children rescued

Full Story:
MORE than 30 children have been rescued from horrific abuse after a major investigation into a worldwide paedophile website run from a Suffolk man's bedroom, it has emerged. Timothy Cox, 28, from Buxhall, masqueraded behind the internet name Son of God, and set up an online trading ground for indecent images and videos of children called Kids the Light of Our Lives. Hundreds of members across the world used it to exchange material including photographs and videos of children, from teenagers to babies, being raped and sexually abused. Cox was jailed indefinitely in June this year but now, in the wake of the case, it has emerged child protection experts have been able to remove 31 youngsters from abusive situations - a figure which is likely to rise. Experts have described the success of the operation as “groundbreaking”.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Social workers visit McCanns to see if their twins are at risk

Full Story:
Social workers visited Kate and Gerry McCann yesterday to assess whether their twins were at any risk. The couple, who are official suspects in the disappearance of their other child, Madeleine, are expected to return to Portugal to be reinterviewed by police.
Two child welfare experts spent an hour with the couple, their two-year-old twins, Sean and Amelie, and several close relatives at the familys home in Rothley, Leicestershire.
The couple have made preparations to leave the twins with an aunt if they have to return to the Algarve, where they are suspected of accidentally killing Madeleine during a holiday 134 days ago.
A judge has to decide by next Thursday whether police have sufficient evidence to reinterview Mr and Mrs McCann, both 39, on suspicion of homicide by negligence and concealing Madeleines corpse. He has authorised detectives to use Mrs McCanns diary as evidence and to examine her husbands computer.
The couple were visited by a male and a female social worker from Leicestershire County Council at 11.30am for an hour-long meeting.
A spokeswoman for the family said: As responsible parents concerned for the welfare of their twins, on return from Portugal Gerry and Kate contacted social services to arrange a meeting to discuss their wellbeing.
Trish Cameron, a sister of Mr McCann, is expected to care for Sean and Amelie if their parents have to leave the country. She went for a walk with the twins for an hour before the meeting with the social workers.
Other visitors at the house included Mr McCanns brother, John, and Mrs McCanns parents, and Brian and Susan Healy, and her uncle, Brian Kennedy. John McCann said: Kate has invited social services round to make sure that everything is OK. That was at her behest. They will co-operate with anyone who has the familys best interests at heart.
A meeting at the home of parents who are involved in a case where a child is believed to have been harmed is standard practice and does not mean that the twins were judged to be at risk. Social workers could carry out a further core assessment into the welfare of the twins, which would involve other agencies such as the police and the familys GP.
Last night France Soir, a French newspaper, claimed that traces of a large quantity of sleeping pills were found in DNA samples from bodily fluids taken from the boot of a car hired by the couple 25 days after Madeleine disappeared. The Portuguese police have not commented on the story, and the McCanns have previously denied giving Madeleine sleeping pills.
Senior officers wanted to charge Mrs McCann last week, which would have kept her in Portugal for more than a year awaiting trial. However, after a meeting between the McCanns Portuguese lawyer, Carlos Pinto de Abreu, and the Attorney-General, Fernando Jose Pinto Monteiro, it was decided not to bring any charges. Instead, both were named as arguidos, or formal suspects, last Friday.
The couple were released on the weakest form of bail, which allowed them to return to Britain on Sunday, to the dismay of detectives involved in the investigation. The couple continue to deny vigorously any involvement in their daughters disappearance.
Philomena McCann, Madeleines aunt, confirmed this week that the family would look after the twins if their parents had to return to Portugal. Of course theyre worried about having the children taken away from them, she said. Kate said to my mother, Theres no way those kids are going to get taken by Portuguese social services and that my mum and sister Trish have to take the kids.

Hands On Experience

Full Story:
Working on the service user-led issue of Community Care for September 13 gave me some experience in the journalistic field as well as a chance to engineer change or at least to direct thought as to what changes need to be made.
Having grown up in care myself I felt that my experiences could be used in a positive way to improve the quality of life for young people in care today by sharing my experiences with their social workers Community Cares readers.
My goal was to provide social workers with a deeper understanding of the problems that a young person can face. I wanted to turn my memories into something positive that could benefit others and also help my own healing at the same time. It was an opportunity to voice my concerns in a mature and constructive way.
I felt it was important to reach social workers directly because they have considerable influence in young peoples lives and the decisions they make affect childrens futures. Although these young people may be represented as mountains of case files or paperwork, it is important to remember that they are all individuals and have all already suffered enough.

Madeleine 'was killed by overdose of sleeping tablets'

Full Story:
Madeleine McCann died from an overdose of sleeping pills, it was claimed yesterday.
French investigative reporter Guilhem Battut said a report outlining how the four-year-old met her death was already with Portuguese prosecutors.
The newspaper France Soir said it contains scientific analysis of the bodily fluids found in the boot of the car hired by Kate and Gerry McCann which "prove that the little girl had ingested medicines, without doubt sleeping pills, in large quantities".
British forensic experts expressed severe doubts about the claim. They said the fluid was only a partial match to Madeleine's DNA and the sample was not strong enough to determine the presence of drugs. Even so, the report will come as a grave blow to the McCanns.
It supports theories published in Portugal that Mrs McCann was involved in Madeleine's death and her husband helped her dispose of their daughter's body.
Meanwhile Gerry McCann hit out today at "ludicrous accusations" that he and his wife were involved in their daughter's death.
Mr McCann said he and his wife Kate knew they were innocent but were frightened and had been "backed into a corner".
He told a friend, quoted in The Sun: "There are large craters in every one of these theories, in these just ludicrous accusations.
"As far as Kate and I are concerned, there is no evidence to suggest that Madeleine is dead.
"We are 100% together on this, not one grain of suspicion about each other."
The couple's supporters have dismissed claims that Madeleine died of a sleeping pill overdose as "rumour-mongering" fuelled by sources in the floundering police investigation.
But this is harder to apply to France Soir and Battut's frontpage story.
A source at the newspaper said 'We are not simply repeating rumours carried in other papers.
"This is not a theory, but a fact contained in hard evidence in the hands of the Portuguese authorities.
"It's all very well putting theories and opinions forward, but in the end this case will be decided on evidence. As journalists, we have been trying to establish what evidence is available."
Although Battut would not reveal his sources, his newspaper claimed he had "senior Portuguese contacts".
Battut is an experienced investigative journalist who has worked on a number of major inquiries, including the death of Prince Diana.
Alan Baker, of the independent forensic science organisation Bericon, confirmed it would be possible to test decomposing bodily fluids - including urine or vomit - for the presence of drugs but said it would be "very difficult" to quantify the amount.
"These samples are likely to be far from ideal," he said. "If it is just a smear or dried deposit, you could detect the drug but not how much."
Sources said strands of hair were still being analysed for drugs.
The French accusation came as a mystery benefactor - understood to be a wealthy British businessman - agreed to meet the McCanns' legal costs.
British experts also attacked the forensic evidence trumpeted by Portuguese police as proof of the McCanns' involvement. They said it was so 'flawed and unreliable' it could never be relied on in a fair trial.
In Portugal, police were reported to be drawing up a list of 40 questions they want to put to Mrs McCann.
She could be called back to be reinterviewed, or the questions could be put by detectives in this country.
The McCanns were visited by social workers at their family home in Rothley, Leicestershire yesterday.
Two officials from Leicestershire Social Services spent an hour interviewing them as their two-year- old twins Sean and Amelie played in the garden.
The visit - said to have been at the McCanns' invitation - followed a meeting of Leicestershire's child protection team and police earlier this week to discuss whether it was safe to leave the twins with their parents, who are suspects in a missing child inquiry and may face charges over her disappearance.
The couple, who were described as 'horrified' at the prospect of their children being taken away, quickly arranged for social workers to call and see how they are caring for the twins.
Social services is obliged to investigate any case where parents are suspected by police of harming their children and it is understood the McCanns were questioned about leaving the children alone in their holiday apartment while they went out for dinner.

Hartlepool uses technology to protect its children and young people

Full Story:
Northgate Information Solutions today announces the successful delivery of an Integrated Childrens System (ICS) for Hartlepool Borough Council, which aims to improve social care services and help safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people in the borough. Under a contract worth Pfund700,000 over 5 years, Northgate, in partnership with Liquidlogic and Hartlepool Borough Council, has implemented and is supporting the ICS for Hartlepools Childrens Services Department. The implementation of the ICS is an integral part of the councils commitment to the governments Every Child Matters programme, and will enable future joint working with partner organisations such as Primary Care Trusts, doctors and the police key steps in improving outcomes for children and young people.

Enfield Protest Today 'Success'

The Protest Demo Was Great Fun, Right Outside Social Service Offices. A Social Worker Came Up To Me And Said "Don't Use Your MegaPhone" I Told Him To Go Away, He Said "He Would Call The Police "I Said " Would You Like A Contact Name" He Went Away With His Tail Between His Legs. Video Footage Will Be On Line Later Today! Just Warming Up For Next Weeks Big Protests, Looking Forward To Seeing You All Their! That's All For Now!

Don't Forget Today's Protest In ENFIELD On 14th September 2007, 10am - 4pm

A One Day Protest Has Been Organised In Enfield
The Protest Starts At 10am until 4pm at the follow location:
Opposite -
Triangle House,
305-313 Green Lanes,
Palmers Green,
N13 4YB
Map and Directions Can Be Found At:
We Would Like To See A Lot Of People Their!
I Will Be Exposing Actual leaked Documents On Adoption Targets!

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Extreme prejudice

Full Story:
An inquiry report into the case of a gay male foster couple who abused young boys in their care reveals that social workers failed to act partly out of fear of being labelled homophobic. David Brindle reports
"You don't want to reflect negatively on gay couples, especially in the social services. I'd be thinking: 'Am I being prejudiced? Is it my own prejudice that is making me doubt the skills of these carers, these two gay men? Is it because I'm homophobic?', rather than just asking yourself the simple question: 'Are they abusing kids?'"Staff member, Wakefield council
Craig Faunch and Ian Wathey were the first openly gay couple approved as foster carers by Wakefield council, West Yorkshire. Within two years, their approval had been rescinded amid inquiries that led ultimately to their imprisonment for the sexual abuse of boys placed in their care.
An inquiry report to be considered by the council today points to weaknesses in process and practice and the failure of Wakefield, at the time, to create and sustain a culture of questioning and challenge. Beyond this, though, it suggests that Faunch and Wathey's special status led to a particular lack of professional rigour in the council's dealings with them and a reluctance to "think the unthinkable".
The case has already been seized upon gleefully by those who think social work is bedevilled by political correctness. In their simplistic interpretation, professionals feared speaking out lest they were accused of prejudice. But the report's conclusions are more complex than this. As indicated by the comments of a staff member to the inquiry, quoted at the head of this article, social workers felt uncertain of their own attitudes, and very often felt out of their depth in dealing with a same-sex couple who were, additionally, overbearing and bullying.
The report's authors are clear on the lesson to be drawn: "Discrimination based on prejudice is not acceptable, especially not in social work or any public service." But they add: "Discrimination founded on a professional judgment on a presenting issue, based on knowledge, assessed evidence and interpretation, is at the heart of good social work practice.
"These anxieties about discrimination have deep roots, we argue - in social work training, professional identity and organisational cultures - and the remedies for these go beyond the remit of any single council or inquiry report."

Enfield Social Services, 'Play Dirty'

Not Only Have We Been Told That We Can't Talk About Our Daughter For 15 Years!
We Are Now Told That We Have To Remove All Trace Of Her From The Internet And The Media.
Child Stealing Social Services With The Family Courts In Tow. Are Trying To Cover Up All Evidence Of Our Daughter. It Also Means They Have Something To Hide.
They Want To Piss Us Off, Witch They Have Done.
This Will Make Us Fight Even Harder Than Ever For Justice.
Better Watch Out Mr John Bottomley (Social Worker) From Enfield Social Services, You'll Be Surprised At What Information We Are Allowed To Publish Without Breaking Any Laws.
I'm Gonna Start Naming All The People In Our Case One At A Time.
Grace Fagan (Social Worker), Oops! I Lied (Just Like Social Workers), I Named 2 People. LOL

'Fear of prejudice' let gay carers abuse boys

Full Story:
A council's political correctness allowed a pair of homosexual foster parents to sexually abuse children in their care, a report has concluded. Managers and social workers were reluctant to investigate Craig Faunch and Ian Wathey for fear of being accused of prejudice. Instead, they were viewed as "trophy carers" who, by virtue of their sexuality, had a "badge" which made their actions less questionable. advertisement A mother of eight-year-old twins raised concerns about them with social services after finding a photograph of one of the boys using the lavatory. But the authorities took no action, accepting that the two men had been "naive and silly". In reality, they had been using the boys for sexual gratification within months of being approved as carers by the Labour-run Wakefield Metropolitan District Council. Faunch, 42, and Wathey, 33, were jailed last year for a string of offences against four boys, aged between eight and 14, at their home in Pontefract, West Yorks. The victims were among 18 children placed with the pair, Yorkshire's first homosexual foster parents, between August 2003 and January 2005. An independent inquiry concluded that the children were let down by "failures in performance" of individuals and the systems operated by the council. However, it did not name the staff involved. The panel, led by Brian Parrott, the former head of Surrey social services, found: "The fear of being discriminatory led them to fail to discriminate between the appropriate and the abusive. "These anxieties about discrimination have deep roots, we argue - in social work training, professional identity and organisational cultures, and the remedies for these go beyond the remit of any single council or inquiry report."

Involving children and young people in decision-making

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The past decade has seen an increasing recognition and acceptance of the right of children and young people to participate in developing social care. Social care organisations have begun to acknowledge that, when listened to, children and young people can play a vital role in the planning and delivery of services.
As a result of this, children's participation has become a key target for social care organisation in the statutory, voluntary and private sectors. At times, this can lead to the participation "box" being ticked by organisations because they can demonstrate that they have involved children and young people in an activity, rather than because they can provide evidence of change or improvement as a result of their participation.
Benefits of participation
The term "participation" incorporates children's involvement in every area of service development - from commenting on environmental factors like office space to contributing to their individual care plan.
For children and young people to become involved, practitioners need to be able to work in a way which enables participation and ultimately affects change or improvement within the organisation. Practitioners and their managers' awareness of the benefits of participation may assist in this process.
They are often motivated to work in social care because they want to improve children and young people's lives a participative approach may help them to achieve this aim by ensuring that their ways of working are based on what is important to children and young people. It may lead to improvements in skills, knowledge and job satisfaction.

'Tape interviews in child protection cases'

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The grandparents of a baby wrongly put on the "at risk" register are calling for mandatory taping of interviews with people subjected to child protection enquiries. They argue that evidence submitted to courts by social workers is "inherently unsafe".
The couple, who cannot be named, believe child protection social workers should be required to carry out interviews and gather evidence to standards used by police. Under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (see below), interviews are taped, statements are agreed and vulnerable adults under investigation have the right to a supporter.
The family has chosen to speak out following recent concerns over the way child protection enquiries are carried out raised by Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming.
Their grandchild was put on the child protection register by Norfolk Council's social services, for likelihood of emotional abuse, just weeks before the birth in November 2004. Their daughter was recovering from dissociative identity disorder, a mental health condition featuring multiple personalities, when she became pregnant.
At the case conference, nine of the 12 professionals voted against registration but the chair used her exceptional powers, which are normally used when the vote is split, to ensure the baby was registered.
The mother appealed against the decision to register and the family lodged complaints about the way the case was handled.
An independent review, led by Norfolk Safeguarding Children Board chair Dr Caroline Ball, published in May 2006, revealed a catalogue of errors in the handling of the case. The couple also discovered that vital notes had been destroyed.

Minister sacked after exposing ‘child abuse’

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Jersey’s Health Minister was sacked after he blew the whistle on a harsh punishment regime in a home where children as young as 11 were kept in solitary confinement.
Stuart Syvret, the island’s longest-serving and most popular senator, had accused ministers, civil servants and social workers of failing to protect children but he was forced out this week after losing a vote of confidence in Jersey’s parliament, the States.
He claimed to have been defeated by the “one-party oligarchy” of the Jersey establishment. But Frank Walker, the Chief Minister, accused Mr Syvret of bullying and harassing staff and bringing the Channel Island into disrepute.
As to Mr Syvret’s abuse claims, the Government said that it had set up an inquiry, to be led by Andrew Williamson, a British childcare expert.
Mr Syvret told The Times yesterday: “There is a climate of fear throughout public administration in Jersey but people will be even more terrified than they were before. The fact that I have become the first health and social services minister in postwar Western Europe sacked for whistle-blowing sends an appalling signal.”
The dispute began last year when Simon Bellwood, a British social worker, became manager of the Greenfields home, which cares for runaway children and those facing prosecution. Mr Bellwood was appalled to discover that staff kept children in a form of round-the-clock solitary confinement and threatened them with indefinite isolation if they misbehaved.
The punishment regime was called “Grand Prix” and used motor racing slang. The toughest sanction, known as “the pits”, involved children being kept alone in a cell. Bedding and mattresses were removed during the day and only after 24 hours of good behaviour could children rejoin their peers.
Mr Bellwood scrapped the system but he was dismissed at the end of his probationary period. He is challenging the decision and has been backed by the British Association of Social Workers. “He believes he became a target as a result of raising these concerns,” said Terry Dadswell, the union’s assistant chief executive.

Large amount of Madeleine’s hair found in trunk of parents rental car

Full Story:
Ten-volume dossier of ‘evidence’ handed to Portuguese judge
• ‘There was so much hair it could not be from DNA transference but from the body being in the boot’
• Police theory that body was hidden in village in first few weeks
• Bodily fluids found in the car match Madeleine’s DNA
• Parents could be summoned to Portugal and placed under house arrest
Kate and Gerry McCann’s hopes of lifting the cloud of suspicion over them has suffered a major setback.
It has been claimed that “substantial” quantities of their daughter Madeleine’s hair were found in the boot of the car they hired 25 days after she disappeared.
Portuguese detectives told the public prosecutor that the only explanation was that the hair came either from her body or from something used to wrap it.Sources also insisted that bodily fluids found in the car - not necessarily blood - matched the four-year-old’s DNA.
The claims came as detectives handed a ten-volume dossier on the case of Madeleine’s disappearance to the public prosecutor.
Less than three hours later it was announced that the file had been passed to a judge to investigate - the clearest indication yet that the couple are believed to have a case to answer.
This takes the McCanns a step nearer learning if they are to be charged with killing their missing daughter.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

New London Child Protection Procedures released

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The London Safeguarding Children Board published the third edition of its child protection procedures today after a year-long consultation.
At its launch, board chair Derek Myers called the revised London Child Protection Procedures “the most comprehensive child protection procedures in the UK”. The third edition aims to be as “wide-reaching” and “relevant to a broad range of people”.
In the third edition, extensive work has been carried out on ‘Children in specific circumstances’ (section 5). This section outlines 43 different categories of cases from London’s 32 local safeguarding children boards. This is a major jump from the 13 cases published in the second edition in 2003.
The revised section provides professionals with guidance and a platform to work from if a particular case arises involving, say, female genital mutilation, which is one of the categories. Another new section is ‘Working with un-cooperative families’ (section 10).
Based on the idea that “safeguarding is everybody’s business”, it sets out guidance for professionals, who work in statutory or voluntary agencies and community or faith groups, on their roles and responsibilities when working with children, families and parents. It also aims to guide agencies to share information.
Myers said: “London’s children should all be able to grow up in circumstances where they are safe and supported, so that they can have fun and make good progress throughout childhood, teenage years and into adulthood. But to ensure this is the case, all agencies need to work together to promote children’s welfare and prevent them from suffering harm – and this is where the London Child Protection Procedures come in.”


Full Story:
An Investigation was launched after a member of staff took a picture of naked children in her care. The woman, who works at Beech Green Primary School nursery, in Quedgeley, took a full-frontal naked picture of a four-year-old Gloucester girl, during a school trip in July. The picture, taken at Cattle Country near Berkeley, also showed the naked behind of a four-year-old boy. The photograph was processed, printed and laminated before the girl's enraged parents demanded an external inquiry. A child protection investigation was launched by Gloucestershire County Council. As a result, the staff member is receiving further child protection training and the school's procedures have been tightened. But a female family friend of the girl's parents, who asked not to be named, said the family are furious with the way the matter has been handled. The friend, 36, said: "The children had been playing in the swimming pool at Cattle Country and were getting changed when the staff member started taking pictures of them. "The family do not believe this is suitable behaviour.