Archive for May, 2008

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Full Story: http://www.stopinjusticenow.com/News_0834.htm

Eight years after Victoria Climbie died, the lessons of that terrible case seem not to have been learned The story of seven-year-old Khyra Ishaq who apparently starved to death in a house in Birmingham shocked the country this week. Amid calls for a full public inquiry, authorities in the city met on Friday and launched a serious case review. But questions are being asked as to how a child could be let down so badly, eight years after the death of Victoria Climbie. Emergency services were called to the house in Leyton Road in the Handsworth area of Birmingham last Saturday when Khyra suffered breathing difficulties. She was taken to hospital but died a short while later. Her five siblings, three brothers and two sisters, were reportedly found by paramedics lying next to her on a mattress in a weakened state. They have now been taken into foster care after a brief spell in Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Angela Gordon, 33, and Junaid Abuhamza, 29, who are believed to be the child’s mother and stepfather, have been charged with causing or allowing the death of a child. They appeared in front of Birmingham magistrates last Monday and were remanded in custody until their next appearance on 28 May. Police are still awaiting results of a post mortem examination and have said the cause of death is not yet known. But sources have said the girl was found in an emaciated condition and had apparently starved to death. The news stunned the local community and sparked much soul-searching as to how the tragedy was allowed to happen. Writing in The Independent yesterday, Deborah Orr said: “No one knows exactly what ghastly events led to poor seven-year-old Khyra Ishaq’s death from malnutrition, as her five siblings grew weaker alongside her. But it is self-evident that she was let down by every single adult who might have been able to make a positive intervention in her short life.” Daily Mirror columnist Sue Carroll wrote on Friday: “How this could happen in 21st-century Britain beggars belief and throws up terrible memories of eight-year-old Victoria Climbie’s death in 2000. “We were told, after she was found to have 128 injuries to her 3st 10lb body, that lessons would be learned. Now Khyra’s life can be added to the list of lonely and vulnerable children whose cries, yet again, fell on deaf ears.”

Full Story: http://www.stopinjusticenow.com/News_0833.htm

Extra help for young foster children at risk of exclusion and failed care placements – Young foster children with emotional or psychological difficulties are to get extra support to stop them getting into trouble at school and help them settle in care placements, thanks to a Pfund3.8 million pilot project announced today by Childrens Minister Kevin Brennan. Eight local authorities will get Pfund400,000 each to set up a multi-agency team to help 7-11 year old foster children displaying early antisocial challenging behaviour, who have already had a number of care placements or interventions. The Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care Children pilots will involve multidisciplinary health and social care teams that combine high levels of supervision with intensive positive parenting training for foster parents. They will encourage the child into positive recreational activities, greater involvement in school and break contact with other children who are a bad influence. Early intervention should make it possible to reduce the numbers of older looked after children with complex needs who require intensive services and very high cost placements. Speaking at the Associate Parliamentary Group for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, Childrens Minister Kevin Brennan said: Evidence shows that many young children who enter care are already showing signs of developmental delay, behavioural difficulties and are at great risk of long term poor outcomes. If we are to make this country the very best place in the world to be a child, we need to give our most vulnerable children the same opportunities as their peers. We must intervene early and put all the support they need in place. The focus on younger looked after children who are presenting significant difficulties was announced in Care Matters and fits well with the Every Child Matters emphasis on early intervention and securing permanence and stability for children.

Full Story: http://www.stopinjusticenow.com/News_0832.htm

The failings of social workers are putting children from broken homes at risk from abuse, a report has revealed. Children at the centre of divorce or separation cases, particularly those involving domestic violence or abuse, have been left vulnerable by a backlog of cases. The failings were uncovered by an Ofsted inspection of the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass), the service set up to ensure that children’s views are represented in court. The report covering Kent, Surrey and Sussex found a waiting list of 150 cases, delays of six months for some families, inadequate assessments of the impact of domestic violence and a failure to refer cases to local authorities where there were concerns for the child’s welfare.

Full Story: http://www.stopinjusticenow.com/News_0832.htm

The failings of social workers are putting children from broken homes at risk from abuse, a report has revealed. Children at the centre of divorce or separation cases, particularly those involving domestic violence or abuse, have been left vulnerable by a backlog of cases. The failings were uncovered by an Ofsted inspection of the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass), the service set up to ensure that children’s views are represented in court. The report covering Kent, Surrey and Sussex found a waiting list of 150 cases, delays of six months for some families, inadequate assessments of the impact of domestic violence and a failure to refer cases to local authorities where there were concerns for the child’s welfare.

Full Story: http://www.stopinjusticenow.com/News_0832.htm

The failings of social workers are putting children from broken homes at risk from abuse, a report has revealed. Children at the centre of divorce or separation cases, particularly those involving domestic violence or abuse, have been left vulnerable by a backlog of cases. The failings were uncovered by an Ofsted inspection of the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass), the service set up to ensure that children’s views are represented in court. The report covering Kent, Surrey and Sussex found a waiting list of 150 cases, delays of six months for some families, inadequate assessments of the impact of domestic violence and a failure to refer cases to local authorities where there were concerns for the child’s welfare.

Full Story: http://www.stopinjusticenow.com/News_0831.htm

Almost from birth, the service set up to represent the voice of children in the courts has been a target for attack from aggrieved parents and has suffered a troubled history since. With this years first Ofsted reports, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) has been exposed to official and independent scrutiny and found wanting. It is seven years since Cafcass was set up, bringing together 113 organisations including probation officers in family court welfare, social workers representing children in care and adoption cases, child protection agencies and welfare groups. The idea was highly acclaimed: to provide a national service handling childrens cases both public (care) and private (contact and residence disputes) and give a high and consistent standard of support in courts across England and Wales. Delays in court decisions were to be cut. But, like many new bodies in the public sector, it was set up too quickly and with inadequate funding. Merging 57 sets of pay and different working cultures proved a logistical nightmare. Within four years it had three chief executives. In the first eight months the original chief executive, Diane Shepherd, was suspended and then sacked in July 2002 over an unauthorised payment to a dismissed executive. By 2003 ministers had demanded the boards resignation amid claims that it had descended into chaos.