The tabloids are at it again. Apparently “hundreds of criminals” are applying for care jobs, according to the Daily Mirror this week. It reveals General Social Care Council figures showing that 375 qualified social workers have committed offences ranging from theft and drug dealing to more serious offences. All are at various stages of registration.
If the story was intended to frighten social care users into thinking that a criminal could be coming into their home, it doubtless does the job. But the story omits any context.
It might be a clich, but it is common for service users to want to give back to the sector that which has helped them turn around their lives. Former drug addicts, homeless people and young offenders who have changed their ways often want to help others in similar circumstances. They speak from experience and their words have a credibility which resonates with service users and in a way that is more difficult to achieve by a professional viewed as a do-gooder.
That isn’t to say that this will be the case for all crimes, particularly in the case of very serious offences. But if the social care sector cannot believe in rehabilitation, then who can?