Vale of Glamorgan Council has launched an urgent inquiry after a teenager with a history of sexual offending was placed with a family and went on to abuse two young children.
The council’s director of social services, Phil Evans, apologised to the family for the distress and harm they had suffered after the 18-year-old youth admitted raping their two-year-old son and abusing their daughter, aged nine.
Although a case management inquiry overseen by the NSPCC was under way, Evans said that a “serious error of judgement” had been made in authorising the placement.
A statement from the council said the adult placement scheme was available to vulnerable adults aged 18 and over who “are unable to live independently and want to live in a family environment”.
At a hearing in Cardiff Crown Court, the 18-year-old youth was ordered to be detained for a minimum of six years, but would only be released when he was no longer a danger to the public.
The Recorder of Cardiff, Nicholas Cooke, QC, said the circumstances of his placement were a matter of “grave concern”.
“In this case a tragedy ensued for a family who only wished to serve the community and who were let down by the system. They were unable to protect their own children because of a failure to provide them with information.”
Director: lessons will be learned
Evans added: “Staff are taking this matter very seriously. We’re doing all that we can to find out what went wrong and to ensure that such events are never repeated.
“Please accept my assurances that only high standards of social work practice are acceptable in the Vale of Glamorgan. This includes, as a first priority, responsibility for safeguarding children from abuse.”
Stewart Greenwell, president of the Association of Directors of Social Services Cymru, said: “Although ADSS Cymru will never defend bad practice, it is vital that the complexity of such a case be highlighted and taken into account. It is essential that the placing of such vulnerable adults is subject to rigorous checks to ensure an appropriate fit between the family and the person being placed in care, in order to minimise any undue risks.
“However, in this case, the Vale of Glamorgan Council has stated that an error in judgement had been made, and the enquiry into the case will need to focus on why such poor judgement was made, in order to learn what went wrong and to avoid that being repeated again.”
A spokesperson for the Care Council for Wales said Vale of Glamorgan Council had reported the case to CCW officials, and it was awaiting further information. The spokesperson added that employers were obliged to report any situations that might call into question the registration of social workers.
Related articlesCare Council for Wales finds social worker placed child at risk
Council launches inquiry into paedophile housing blunder
Vale of Glamorgan Council – latest news