Foster children abused after Wakefield Council flaws

Failings in Wakefield Council’s fostering service led to the abuse of children in the care of two approved foster carers, an independent inquiry has found.

Ian Wathey and Craig Faunch, who were foster carers for the council between 2003 and 2005, were convicted for sexual offences in June 2006 against four children. 

The inquiry found potential indicators of child sexual abuse were “inadequately investigated, understood or acted upon”, and that the fostering panel which approved the two men who went on to care for 18 children and young people was “deficient.”

The practice of some social workers in the case was also “deficient” and their supervision by middle managers was “inadequate”, the inquiry by social work expert Brian Parrott found.

The inquiry made 41 recommendations, including revising Wakefield Council’s policy and procedure when allegations about foster carers are made and addressing the performance of individual staff.

The full report of the inquiry is due to be published at a Wakefield council meeting next Wednesday. 

Elaine McHale, Wakefield council’s corporate director of family services, welcomed the inquiry and said the findings would be used to improve the fostering service.

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Maria Ahmed

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