Social worker struck off over abuse warning failure

Julian Swan denied allegations of misconduct

A social worker from the Vale of Glamorgan has been found guilty of misconduct, after failing to properly warn a foster family about the risks posed by a teenager he placed in their care.

The teenager went on to sexually abuse two young children in the family.

The Care Council of Wales conduct committee found Julian Swan guilty of all four charges against him.

The committee struck him off.

The case goes back to 2008, when a 19-year-old who was about to leave the care system was placed with a foster family in the county.

The family were not warned of the teenager's history of inappropriate sexual behaviour.

'Happened before'

They took him into their home, where he seriously sexually assaulted their two young children. The teenager was later given an indeterminate prison sentence and the council apologised to the family.

On Thursday the disciplinary hearing found that Mr Swan had failed to adequately read the case file and had not prepared an appropriate chronology.

He also failed to conduct an adequate investigation in November 2007, following an allegation that the teenager had inappropriately touched a woman resident in hostel accommodation.

The committee also decided that in November 2008, Mr Swan did not take an appropriate risk assessment in relation to the teenager's placement and failed to advise the carers appropriately of the risks posed by the placement.

Following the incident, the disciplinary hearing was told, a colleague found the relevant information when the teenager's father told him "something like this has happened before".

After pulling out all the files on to the floor, he found the information about the teenager's previous inappropriate behaviour in about 45 minutes.

'Scapegoated'

Mr Swan denied allegations of misconduct and claimed he had been made a scapegoat.

He told the hearing he would have acted differently with hindsight, but he had acted in good faith.

One of the main issues examined during the hearing was whether it was his job to look at the past history of the files or whether, as he assumed, he could take the word of his colleagues who were passing the case on to him as fact.

He claimed he did the latter and, as a result, a critical report from 2002 lay unnoticed in the files, the hearing was told.

He said: "I never sought to diminish my responsibility but there is a shared responsibility.

"I have been scapegoated by the Vale of Glamorgan council."