A social worker whose lie to colleagues “almost certainly” led to children being taken into care has been struck off.
An Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) conduct and competence committee decided to strike off the social worker after three children were taken into emergency care after she falsely told her manager their mother threatened to kill her children, kill herself and burn the house down.
After the social worker said this, and repeated it on several occasions, the council she worked for was granted an emergency protection order to remove the children. The social worker did not correct her statements until five days later, before an interim care order hearing.
Both the social worker and her employer referred her to the HCPC. She was suspended for 12 months on two occasions, in 2015 and 2016, before a committee took a decision to strike her off last month.
In the 2015 hearing, the HCPC said the social worker’s actions were “deplorable” and had caused “very real harm” to the mother and her family.
“[The mother] had her children removed almost certainly based on a sequence of events initiated by what the registrant had said. This was at an ex-parte hearing meaning that [the mother] would not have known or been in a position to have challenged the evidence given by the registrant,” the 2015 panel said.
It added that the social worker did not take opportunities to retract her false statement, and she demonstrated no insight into her actions.
The panel also heard that the social worker had shared cigarettes and personal information with the mother, which it said breached professional boundaries as it “blurred” the relationship between the pair.
Following the beginning of the HCPC process in 2015, the social worker did not engage with proceedings.
Last month a panel concluded there was “no evidence” that the social worker had insight into her misconduct.
“She has not taken the opportunities provided to her by the two previous panels to demonstrate that she has reflected on her misconduct. In the absence of any information that the misconduct has been remedied, the panel has concluded that there is a real risk of repetition,” the panel said.
In striking off the social worker, the panel said she chose not to fix her misconduct, and the step was necessary to maintain public confidence in the profession and prevent repetition if she was to practice as a social worker again.