Social Workers' Jobs at Risk over Teenage Rapist; Abuser's Rights Were Put before Foster Family's
Byline: Rhiannon Beacham
THREE council workers could lose their jobs after their mistakes led to a disturbed teenager being placed with a family with young children he went on to sexually abuse, their boss said yesterday. The 19-year-old was jailed indefinitely in February after he admitted the rape and sexual assault of the two young children. An urgent inquiry was launched and the resulting report, published yesterday, revealed mistakes were made by staff concentrating on the teenager's own vulnerability and not the risks he posed. Director of Social Services at Vale of Glamorgan Council, Philip Evans, said three members of the seven-strong Leaving Care Team had been suspended. These include "social workers and managers". Mr Evans said he would not resign as he saw that as the easy option and wanted to stay to ensure the inquiry's recommended changes are implemented. The teenager was placed with a family by the council's Adult Placement Service, despite having a history of sexual behaviour involving children. The inquiry found that the Leaving Care Team did not pass on information about his background, and described their actions as naive. "Seen for the most part as a victim in many aspects of his life, he was considered to be the one in need of protection," the report said. "Because of this focus, much of the relevant information was not made available to the parents of the children and to some of the staff involved in making decisions about providing accommodation."
After the teenager's sentencing at Cardiff Crown Court, it was revealed that allegations about his sexual behaviour were first made in 2004, when it was claimed he acted in a sexually inappropriate way to another boy. In 2005, he is said to have sexually touched a boy while they were both living at a hostel in England. Last year, he allegedly sexually assaulted a 16-year-old while they were staying in the same hostel. Mr Evans said: "We have suspended three members of staff - social workers and managers - and further disciplinary action will follow quickly now we have the inquiry report. "Potentially, the consequences to the staff are serious. "As accountable professionals they are now open to external scrutiny by the Care Council for Wales and they can be removed from the register." He said that, on the basis of the report, it had been decided to change all managers for the Leaving Care Team and remove all case responsibility from some case practitioners in the team. Mistakes were also made when the children reported the abuse, the inquiry revealed. Mr Evans said: "Just as worrying is the chain of errors made by staff even when specific allegations of abuse by the children were made. …