Daily roundup: Drug treatment, Doncaster children's services, and foster care

Neil Puffett
Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Four-year-olds referred for drug and alcohol treatment; launch date for independent children's services trust in Doncaster delayed a month; and call for long-term foster care to be used more, all in the news today.

Children as young as four are being referred to drug and alcohol treatment services. Picture: NTI
Children as young as four are being referred to drug and alcohol treatment services. Picture: NTI

Children as young as four are being referred to specialist drug and alcohol treatment services in the UK. The Telegraph reports that freedom of information requests by the Press Association found that children as young as four had been referred by education and children's services to alcohol and drug specialists in South Ayrshire. Elsewhere, eight-year-olds had been referred to services in Waltham Forest while nine-year-olds had been referred in Herefordshire, Liverpool, Oxfordshire, Rutland, the Scottish Borders and West Berkshire.

The independent trust set up to run Doncaster Council’s children’s services department will launch on 1 October, a month behind schedule. The Doncaster Star reports that the council’s cabinet will hear today that the services earmarked to transfer to the trust include family support teams, safeguarding and child protection, social care, fostering and adoption, children’s residential units, the youth offending service and youth services.

Long-term foster care should be viewed as the option of choice for most children in care who cannot return to their birth family or live with wider family and friends. A report by the Fostering Network says changes are needed to make long-term foster care work more successfully for both foster carers and children, through the development of stronger statutory frameworks.

Enfield has been identified as the borough with the highest number of school truancies in the capital. This is Local London reports that statistics from the Department for Education show that as of 2012/13, 2,097 children were persistently absent from school, the highest of all London boroughs by more than 200.

Local government workers are to vote on strike action, after rejecting an “insulting” one per cent pay offer, Unite has said. The trade union will now hold a ballot asking its members whether they wish to take strike action. The ballot will open in early June and the result will be known later that month.

And finally, a deal to allow schools to buy defibrillator machines at a reduced price will be struck in time for the autumn term, the Department for Education has announced. The government is working to identify a supplier who will offer defibrillators - which cost around £1,000 - to all schools at what it calls a "competitive" price. Defibrillators can restart the heart by administering an electric shock when someone suffers cardia arrest.


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