July 13, 2000British singles wanted as foster parents
A story published today by the London Telegraph reports that single
men, lone mothers and the unemployed were called upon yesterday to foster children as part
of a Government drive to tackle the shortage of caregivers.
The perception that fostering is the preserve of married couples and
white middle-class families is a myth and should be dispelled, to attract people
"from all walks of life", said John Hutton, the health minister, as he launched
the Government's campaign to recruit 7,000 foster caregivers.
He said: "Single men are no different from anyone else. They
care about children and should not be excluded from fostering. We need people from all
walks of life and from different ethnic origins. We need single people as well as couples.
We need people who have never had children but who would really enjoy looking after
The £2 million advertising campaign to recruit more caregivers from
a wider background is part of the Government's attempt to find homes for the 55,000
children in care in England, 36,000 of whom are in foster care. It comes a week after Tony
Blair announced plans to change the adoption rules amid fears that some councils have
banned couples from adopting children from care because they smoke, are of the wrong
ethnic background or are overweight.
Saturday, July 8
China plans to amend marriage laws
A story published today by XINHUA News Agency reports that
China plans to amend its 20-year-old Marriage Law, to deal with newly-arising social
problems such as bigamy, unmarried cohabitation, domestic violence and shirking the
responsibility of taking care of the elderly.
Hu Kangsheng, deputy director of the Legislative Affairs
Commission under the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, said that
research on the law amendment is now under way, involving officials and experts from
women's federations, civil affairs departments and courts.
Although the experts agreed to persist in the principles of
freedom of marriage, monogamy and gender equality, and the prohibition of domestic
violence, spouse abuse and abandonment, they differed on how to decide the criteria for
divorce and whether to introduce a system to compensate one side in a divorce case, as
well as on laying the blame in divorce cases, Hu said.
While about nine million couples tie the nuptial knot each
year in China, some 450,000 couples get divorced according to mutual agreement, and about
700,000 couples end their marriage relations through court verdict or mediation.
Hu pointed out that China's monogamy system has been under
challenge as a result of the increasing phenomenon of bigamy, married men keeping
mistresses, illegal cohabitation and ex-marital affairs.