A social worker facing multiple allegations about her practice and conduct was critcised yesterday by a former colleague who said he had “never come across another social worker who lacks such competence”.
Martin Tate told a General Social Care Council conduct committee that Jacinta Hofstetter’s handling of a case involving a 12-year-old boy – known as Child Three – had involved a “catalogue of bad practice” and was “extremely substandard”.
Hofstetter, at the time a social worker at Brent Council, allegedly told the child that a permanent foster placement had been found for him but failed to tell staff at the home where he lived, including his allocated worker, Tate, that she had done so.
Tate also claimed that Hofstetter told the boy the family “love you very much” despite the fact they had never met him, and it is alleged that she failed to keep Child Three informed about the progress of the placement for four months after disclosing it to him in July 2001.
Tate said he had been shocked by Hofstetter’s comments about the prospective family. He said: “It would have raised his hopes. As a social worker she should have been aware that placements may not go ahead or may break down.”
He added that Hofstetter repeatedly failed to attend meetings with the boy, despite being his allocated social worker, and frequently failed to return phone calls.
Hofstetter is facing a number of other allegations, including failing to disclose on her General Social Care Council application form that she had been dismissed by Brent Council for gross misconduct in 2002.
Hofstetter denies all the allegations.
The allegation that Hofstetter advised Child Three that a permanent foster home had been found for him was dropped in October 2008. However, allegations that she did not tell the children’s home that she would inform the child that the placement had been found and that she did not update Child Three on progress of the placement both remained.
The hearing continues.
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