A social worker found guilty of misconduct on 28 counts has been removed from the social care register after a committee decided her conduct could not be remedied because she had refused to acknowledge any of her failings.
In its 63-page ruling, the General Social Care Council conduct committee said Jacinta Hofstetter’s breaches of the codes of practice had been consistent and persistent and that she had shown no remorse or insight into her actions.
The case was the GSCC’s longest to date, running over 23 days and taking more than a year to conclude.
The committee heard evidence that Hofstetter, at the time a social worker at Brent council in London, had told a 12-year-old boy – known as child 3 – who was living in a children’s home that a permanent foster placement had been found for him. But she failed to update him for five months.
Child suffered ‘distress and anxiety’
The committee rejected Hofstetter’s argument that her actions had caused no harm to service users, saying there was clear evidence from Child 3’s evidence that he had suffered “distress and anxiety”.
Hofstetter also failed to inform another child’s foster carers he had witnessed a stabbing at his grandmother’s home. She had also not passed the information to professionals who could have helped the child deal with what he had seen.
It also heard that she had supplied false information on her application form to the GSCC and she had failed to disclose her dismissal for gross misconduct from Brent Council to a recruitment agency and on documents in support of an application to become an adoptive parent.
In its ruling the committee said that Hofstetter had lacked credibility and had frequently failed to answers directly, giving an “impression of evasiveness”.
Her lack of insight into her behaviour meant there was a “significant risk” that it could be repeated.
“In the committee’s view the registrant is unable to resolve or remedy her failings and does not have the potential to be rehabilitated by further training and/or assessment due to her inability to recognise her failings,” it said.
The ruling went on to describe Hofstetter’s conduct during the hearing as unacceptable, noting that she had snatched papers from a pregnant case investigator and made audible remarks while a witness was giving evidence, which the witness and the GSCC’s presenting officer complained about. The chair to the committee also had to remind her to restrain herself.
Hofstetter now has the option to appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Care Standards).