Sunday, November 25, 2012
British social workers hang on to their control: Seven out of eight couples who try to adopt children are rejected
Only one in eight of the couples and individuals who try to adopt children are approved by social workers, official figures revealed yesterday.
The shocking statistics mean that more than 22,000 would-be adoptive parents vanish from the system every year.
The figures were made public for the first time by the schools and children inspectorate Ofsted. They were released just three weeks after the government-sponsored National Adoption Week called for thousands more people to come forward to adopt.
The Ofsted count showed that in the year which ended in March, 25,380 couples and individuals made inquiries about adopting a child. Of these, only 4,145 (16 per cent) went on to make applications to adopt a child. Even fewer - 3,048 - were actually approved as prospective parents by council or agency social workers.
The drop-out rate has been revealed at a time when ministers have promised to sweep away the barriers to adoption put up by social workers over the past three decades.
Parents have been regularly turned down because social workers insist on precise racial matches, and white parents are routinely rejected as adopters of black or Asian children. Potential parents are also turned down because they smoke, or are too old, or social workers say their health is not good enough.
The Ofsted breakdown, based on returns from councils and voluntary adoption agencies, gave the same figure as Whitehall for the number of children adopted from the care system last year – 3,450.
About 65,000 children live in state care, either in children’s homes or with frequently changing foster families. Children who grow up in care are likely to grow up with poor education and have a high chance of falling into drug abuse, crime or early pregnancy.
Despite regular warnings that adoption placements often break up, the Ofsted figures showed that there were only 115 ‘unplanned endings’ of adoption placements during the year.
The disappearance of the great majority of people who hoped to adopt a child provoked demands for explanations yesterday. Adoption researcher Patricia Morgan said: ‘How are you going to recruit people to adopt children if nobody knows why people are dropping out?
‘We are not being told whether people are being turned down or put off. We do not know what criteria are used to approve or reject people. We do not know to what extent the decisions are made on grounds of race, age, health or people’s opinions. We need to know.’
A Department for Education spokesman said: ‘We are making the adoption system as welcoming and helpful as possible so that those who want to adopt are supported and encouraged.
‘We are setting up a new national information service, called a gateway, for prospective adopters. ‘With a website and helpline from early next year, it will give a consistent service across the country. 'The Government is reforming adoption to make the process swifter and place children in care with loving families.’
Ministers have promised to sweep away barriers to adoptive parents over recent months, and in particular they have said race rules will go.
The barriers to adoption have helped push down the number of children who find new families from 20,000 a year in the 1970s to few more than 3,000 now.
The Ofsted figures showed that 92 per cent of people approved to adopt were white, while 78 per cent of children in care and 85 per cent of children who are adopted are white.
Broke Britain: Supermarket chain forced to put lamb and even cheese in anti-theft security boxes
Decades of the welfare State bear fruit
Cheese and meat joints have been locked away in security-sealed boxes by a crime-hit supermarket in a bid to thwart hungry thieves. Crime-hit supermarket chain Iceland has resorted to using the 'lamb saver boxes', normally used to protect more expensive goods such as CDs, games and DVDs, which trigger an alarm if a shoplifter attempts to leave the store with meat products without paying.
The security tactic has been employed in hundreds of the chain's stores across the UK. Checkout assistants at the stores have told customers the supermarket chain also plans to fix security tags to its cheese - or lock the dairy goods away from reach.
Iceland bosses said they had been forced into the 'defence mechanisms' to stop a growing number of hungry thieves pinching its stock.
But customers hit out at the precaution, while food charities interpreted the measure as 'inevitable' with many families struggling to make ends meet.
Shopper Simon Wightman said he was 'saddened' to to find the leg-of-lamb contained in security tagged boxes when he was doing a weekly shop.
The motorcycle store manager and father-of-three from Herne Bay, Kent, said: 'I just think it is sad that people feel they have to steal from Iceland to survive. 'What is the world coming to? When I saw them I couldn’t believe it.
'Someone trying to swipe something expensive from Marks & Spencer you can almost understand, but pinching meat from Iceland? 'What will they do next, an electric fence around the fish fingers?
'When I laughed at the boxes, the woman at the check out even said they were planning to security tag cheese. 'Apparently so many people steal it, they stuff it into their trousers and run out - its ridiculous.
'You can understand them wanting the boxes because even when their security guards catch someone they can’t sell the food if its been stuffed down someone’s pants.'
Iceland, which like most food stores already fixes security tags to luxury items, such as expensive spirits, said its new measures were needed to maximise 'availability.'
Spokeswoman for the chain Amy Globe, said: 'The lamb saver boxes are used in several hundred Iceland stores and are designed to enhance the availability of the product for customers. 'The boxes are designed to serve as a defence mechanism to reduce theft and thereby ensure there is maximum availability for customers.
She confirmed that the chain had been 'trialing' security boxes for bacon and cheese in some of their UK stores. She said: 'The trial was run across some of our UK stores but didn’t prove as effective as the lamb saver boxes. 'Lamb was our most targeted item as it is one of the most costly and popular items in store.
'Therefore we have seen a dramatic reduction in theft since the boxes have been introduced.
'The security boxes weren’t as noticibly effective on lesser items such as bacon and cheese therefore we are unable to confirm they will remain a permanent fixture in stores.'
Food charities said they had seen the need for food banks in certain areas of Britain double in the last year.
The Trussell Trust, part of the UK food bank network, said they weren’t shocked to see a rise in theft from the Iceland store, claiming some families are 'desperate' for food.
Some of the charity’s individual branches have reported more than a 30 per cent increase in people using food banks since the UK was hit by recession in 2009. More than 200,000 people across Britain are now known to be signed-up to food banks to feed their families.
Trussell Trust spokeswoman Molly Hodson said: 'Parents will often go days without eating so they can feed their children but when they are faced with not being able to feed their two-year-old of course they turn to desperate measures.
'Food banks are based in towns and cities across the country but we still don’t have enough and that is the worrying thing. 'Families in the UK are struggling - the food banks are here to help and hopefully there for people so they don’t have to resort to stealing.'
British PM: Eurocrats must accept cuts to pay and perks
That will be the day ....
David Cameron is targeting European Union bureaucrats and their perks for the financial cuts that could clinch a budget deal in Brussels.
EU funding for new telecoms and energy networks could also be cut to find money for the farm subsidies that could persuade France to back a budget deal
The Prime Minister and other EU leaders are in Brussels trying to agree a European budget for the seven years from 2014.
Mr Cameron wants spending to be frozen, and has promised to defend Britain's annual budget rebate. He is facing resistance from France, which is worried his plans could reduce spending on the Common Agricultural Policy. [i.e. heavily subsidized French farmers]
After his first meeting with senior officials at the budget summit, David Cameron has warned there is a "long way to go" to protect Britain's rebate and limit EU spending.
The Prime Minister said the EU's current proposals for spending cuts "do not go far enough", after a meeting this morning with Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council, and Jos‚ Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission.
He also made it clear to the Brussels officials that Britain would not accept any reduction to its £3 billion a year rebate negotiated by Margaret Thatcher to compensate for France's agricultural subsidies.
Diplomats said the key issue for the summit is reconciling Mr Cameron's insistence that the rebate remain unchanged with the French demand to preserve the CAP. One possible compromise would effectively see money taken from both EU's administration budget and the "Connecting Europe" fund which is meant to pay for new telecoms, transport and energy networks. The European Commission's administration budget for 2014 - 2020 is currently due to rise from Euro 56 billion to Euro 62.6 billion.
In Brussels, Britain is pushing for a smaller increase in Commission spending, suggesting that savings could be found by reducing the perks of EU staff. Mr Cameron is understood to have strong support from Germany and the Netherlands for cutting bureaucrats' pay and allowances.
A particular target could be the "expat allowance" paid to non-Belgian staff based in Brussels. It adds 16 per cent to their tax free salaries, and is estimated to cost European taxpayers up to Euro 2 billion.
Mr Cameron believes the retirement age for European civil servants should be raised from 63 to 68 for staff under 58 years old, saving 1.5bn euros (£1.2bn) over the seven years of the proposed budget, a Government spokesman said.
The pay bill should be trimmed by 10 per cent, saving three billion euros (£2.4bn), and pensions should be capped at 60 per cent of final salary, down from 60 per cent - saving of 1.5bn euros (£1.2bn)
A Government spokesman said: ""These are not dramatic changes. The Commission (and other institutions) are telling the Greeks, Italians and others that they should put the retirement age up to 68. "In the UK, we have cut pensions to career-salary average.
"They (Mr Van Rompuy and Mr Barroso) argued it was very difficult legally to change people's terms and conditions (in the EU civil service) - but we have managed it in the UK."
British officials also suggested that cuts could be found in the Connecting Europe fund, which is is due to rise from Euro 8 billion to Euro 36 billion. British officials suggested that at least Euro 20 billion of that planned increase could be cut.
Cutting the fund could cause a backlash from Baltic states and Finland. It could also prompt accusations that the EU is choosing to spend money cosseting uncompetitive French farmers instead of investing in the infrastructure that could help the European economy compete in the 21st century.
Elio Di Rupo, the Belgian Prime Minister, used his arrival to attack Mr Cameron for his cuts calls. "We want an ambitious European budget," he said. "It's a shame that for the British, Europe is primarily a single market. For me, for Belgium, Europe is more solidarity and prosperity for all Europeans, so I will plead with somebody such as David Cameron for more an ambitious budget."
However, after his first meeting this morning with Mr Van Rompuy and Mr Barroso, the Prime Minister's office said the current proposals for cutting spending do not go far enough. "The Prime Minister set out our position that while the latest proposals were a step in the right direction they did not go far enough and that we think more can be done to rein in spending," a Downing Street spokesman said. "He also set out the UK's position on the rebate that it was fully justified and we did not support any changes.
"It was clear that there was a long way to go before we had a deal that reflected the difficult decisions being taken by member states. "As the Prime Minister said this morning, we are going to be negotiating very hard for a good deal for Britain's taxpayers and Europe's taxpayers and to keep the British rebate."
Mr Van Rompuy is proposing a deal that would cut the overall budget, but reduce the value of Britain's annual rebate. However, the Prime Minister has rejected this idea and said it is "quite wrong" for the European Commission to propose increased Brussels budgets at a time of national austerity.
Speaking as he arrived in Brussels this morning, the Prime Minister said: "These are very important negotiations. Clearly at a time when we are making difficult decisions at home over public spending it would be quite wrong - it is quite wrong - for there to be proposals for this increased extra spending in the EU.
Husband and wife's foster children from ethnic minorities 'taken away because couple joined Ukip'
UKIP stands for independence from the EU. The EU is not a race
A married couple claimed yesterday they had their foster children taken away from them for being members of Ukip.
Social workers told the couple, who were caring for three children from ethnic minorities, that the party had ‘racist’ policies and that their membership of it made them unsuitable carers, it was reported last night.
The foster parents, who have been caring for children for nearly seven years and had been described as ‘exemplary’, said they were left feeling ‘stigmatised and slandered’.
The couple are worried they will be stopped from fostering again because of their membership of the UK Independence Party, which campaigns for Britain to leave the EU.
The three latest children, a baby girl, boy and an older girl from a troubled family, came to them in September on an emergency placement. But just eight weeks later, two staff from the Labour-run Rotherham council – the nearest to their village home in South Yorkshire – arrived and announced the local safeguarding children team had been told they were Ukip members in an anonymous tip.
The wife told the Daily Telegraph: ‘I was dumbfounded. Then my question to both of them was, “What has Ukip got to do with having the children removed?”
‘Then one of them said, “Well, Ukip have got racist policies”. The implication was that we were racist. '[The social worker] said Ukip does not like European people and wants them all out of the country to be returned to their own countries.
‘I’m sat there and I’m thinking, “What the hell is going off here?” because I wouldn’t have joined Ukip if they thought that. I’ve got mixed race in my family.’
She claimed the social worker said: ‘We would not have placed these children with you had we known you were members of Ukip because it wouldn’t have been the right cultural match.’
The children were all removed by the end of the week, leaving the couple ‘bereft’. The wife said: ‘We felt like we were criminals. From having a little baby in my arms, suddenly there was an empty cot.’
The couple are in their late 50s and are former Labour voters. The husband works with disabled people and was a Royal Navy reservist for more than 30 years. The wife is a qualified nursery nurse.
Nigel Farage, the leader of Ukip, described the actions of the council as ‘a bloody outrage’ and ‘political prejudice of the very worst kind’.
Rotherham council was unavailable for comment last night.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.