A social worker who had a ‘sexually motivated’ relationship with a teenager she was supposed to care for has been banned from working in the industry in Wales.
Jade Fitzpatrick started dating a 17-year-old boy while she was working at a North Wales care home run by the Keys Childcare group. The boy, who cannot be named by name for legal reasons, was living in the care home at the time.
Miss Fitzpatrick, now 26, told the youngster she loved him, arranged a trip with him to Thorpe Park, including an overnight stay, spent time with him on days off and in his bedroom in the care room at night.
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Earlier this month there was a hearing on Social Care Wales and the panel learned that between January 2020 and September 2020, Ms Fitzpatrick “failed to maintain a professional boundary” and entered into an “inappropriate relationship” with the man in question.
At the hearing, it was determined that Ms. Fitzpatrick was “dishonest and lack of integrity” and that “it was more likely than not that her behavior was sexually motivated”. A total of seven charges were proven against her, and the panel withdrew to consider whether Miss Fitzpatrick’s eligibility to practice in the future was affected by her actions.
On Monday, March 21, the findings were made public and a decision on the issue of impairment was read by panel chair Lorna Savidge, who said Ms Fitzpatrick “poses a risk to vulnerable users of care and support.”
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Concluding the hearing, she said: “We have considered the information before us and have come to the conclusion that Miss Fitzpatrick has a disability due to serious misconduct and that her fitness to practice is currently impaired. We are convinced that the proven behavior is not in line with what would be appropriate in social care practice.
“It is clear to us that this serious misconduct undermines public confidence in social work. We have decided that it is necessary and proportionate to issue a removal order, and that only a removal order will suffice.”
The removal order means that Ms Fitzpatrick, who did not participate in the hearing, will no longer be able to work in a regulated social care position in Wales.
Previously, her former partner, Matthew Griffifths, herself a social worker, received a warning that will remain in his record for three years after he “failed to take appropriate action” for failing to inform the relevant people of his suspicions and later knowledge of Miss Fitzpatrick’s relationship with someone under her care. He was told that any repetition of such a crime “will likely lead to a decreased fitness to practice”.
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