A senior social worker for a fostering agency has been suspended for a year for copying and pasting from another worker’s report on a different family.
The senior practitioner had responsibility for the recruitment, training and supervision of foster carers when she was found to have been keeping poor records, including plagiarising sections from another social worker’s report.
In a British Association of Adoption and Fostering form, the name of one family, Family B, appeared in the report on a second family, referred to as Family A. A routine monthly audit of her cases showed she had copied and pasted sections of Family B’s report into the assessment of Family A.
This rendered the assessment invalid.
In a statement to the Health and Care Professions (HCPC) conduct panel the social worker said she had been suffering from health problems and work-related stress. She said she had experienced a lack of support in coping with her workload.
In this she was backed up by Ruth Minott, one of her supervisors, who said she had observed a number of situations where the social worker was “not dealt with by senior colleagues in a professional manner, leaving her feeling unsupported and unvalued as practitioner”.
Minott described the social worker as “honest, trustworthy and supportive of both carers and as part of a team”.
The panel found the number of incomplete or inaccurate records, while careless rather than malicious, had the potential to put children at risk.