A social worker who threatened foster carers with the loss of children in their care if they did not describe him as ‘supportive’ has been struck off the register.
A Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) panel heard the Peterborough social worker believed the foster carers, who cared for the younger two of three siblings, had made a complaint about him.
He also told the birth mother of all three children, cared for by two sets of foster carers, to contact his manager and make a complaint about the foster carers looking after her first child.
He told her to tell his manager he was a “brilliant social worker”, adding that if she reported him to the police, she would “never see her children again”.
He called the mother on her mobile phone two or three times a week without any professional reason to do so, called her overweight and told her if she lost weight she would “stop having epileptic fits”, the HCPC panel reported.
On a number of occasions the social worker, who worked in a looked-after children team, exaggerated his qualifications and professional background. He told both foster carers and his colleagues in the council that he was a qualified solicitor, a psychologist and that he had set up a clinic in London dealing with Foetal Drug Syndrome.
Lied to colleagues
While he did have a law degree and some experience working with Foetal Drug Syndrome, none of these specific claims was true. He also lied to more than one colleague, telling them he had “only a couple of months to live”.
He acted in a belittling manner to the experienced foster carers, telling them he would “write to them in simple terms”, although the panel did not consider this serious enough to constitute misconduct.
Panel chair Brian Wroe said: “It is clear [he] has no insight as to his past professional failings and he has displayed deep seated attitudinal issues. There has been continued denial on his part and insistence on blaming others along with criticism of the regulatory process.”
The social worker made allegations of a conspiracy on the part of his colleagues and the foster carer he had instructed to praise him to his manager. He described them throughout the fitness to practise process as “the Clan”.
Abuse of power
He also accused the HCPC of “concealing and destroying evidence [and] perverting the course of justice”. When asked to produce a list of documents he felt had been omitted or destroyed so this could be investigated, he did not respond.
The HCPC found his interactions with both foster carers and the birth mother constituted an abuse of power.
As a result of this abuse of trust and power, and his lack of insight, the panel considered it was in the interests of public protection to strike his name from the register.