A social worker facing misconduct charges has told a hearing that records proving she had carried out visits to a child in her care have gone missing.
Jacinita Hofstetter is accused of recording on a review document that she had visited Child 3 on three dates between June and October 2001 when she had not.
Under questioning from General Social Care Council conduct committee chair David Plank, she said: “Ideally [the records] would have been there but they are not. It is not unusual for such documents to go missing in Brent and other places.”
‘Files go missing’
“Files go missing, let alone pieces of paper,” she added. Hofstetter said that if documents held by Millfield children’s home, where the boy had been living at the time, had not been lost they would have also proved she carried out the visits.
Hofstetter is also facing allegations that she was rude and abusive during a disciplinary investigation into her conduct between December 2001 and August 2002. She sent a letter to investigating officer Jan Fishwick saying she was “insincere” and her “dishonesty and bias” meant she should not handle the matter.
Giving evidence yesterday, Hofstetter said: “It could have been written differently but I felt I was in a situation where I felt there was no justice at all. Nobody was listening to me. I wouldn’t write it in the same way today.”
‘Heat of the moment’
“It was in the heat of the moment and I felt extremely unfairly treated,” she added.
On allegations that she failed to inform Barnet Adoption Agency on an application form that she had been dismissed for gross misconduct by Brent Council, Hofstetter said she had not attempted to hide the information and it had not been part of the assessment process.
“Had it come to a discussion I would have gone into it as I had always done. I just wanted to move on with my life. For me it was something I had reached the end of when Brent agreed to a settlement out of court.”
Hofstetter has admitted she also did not declare on her application form that she had worked on a permanent basis for Brent between 1999 and 2002 but said it was a mistake, caused by hurriedly scribbling her CV on a piece of paper when she was asked for it by the adoption agency.
Her husband Etienne Hofstetter, who also gave evidence at the hearing, said his wife had been bullied and subjected to racist comments by her manager while working at Brent Council.
He supported her evidence that she had written her CV down “from memory” in five minutes, adding that the information was included in an assessment document, a Form F, which neither he nor his wife were given the opportunity to review.
Hofstetter said his wife’s dismissal from Brent Council was “irrelevant” to the process. “We had no reason to dwell on it. It had no bearing on our lives at that time and our wish to become adoptive parents.”
The hearing continues.
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