A residential child care worker from Flintshire has been removed from the Register of Social Care Workers after a Social Care Wales hearing found his fitness to practise was currently impaired.
In August 2021, Thomas Adams was convicted at Liverpool and Knowsley Magistrates’ Court of making and possessing indecent photographs of a child and was subsequently sentenced to 16 months in prison, suspended for two years.
After considering the evidence, the panel decided that Mr Adams’s fitness to practise was currently impaired because of serious safeguarding concerns.
Explaining its decision, the panel said: “Mr Adams used the internet to download more than 300 indecent images of children – some as young as five years of age. He possessed those images for more than 18 months.”
The panel continued: “It was carried out at a time when Mr Adams was registered with Social Care Wales as a residential child care worker and employed in that capacity.
“That Mr Adams was working in a role where he had constant contact with vulnerable children yet was downloading material of this nature is, frankly, chilling.”
Explaining further, the panel said: “The transcript of the sentencing hearing records the sentencing judge’s view that there was a realistic prospect of rehabilitation in Mr Adams’s case, however he has not attended this hearing. This leaves us without any evidence from him on this issue, or the broader issues of insight and remorse.”
The panel decided to remove Mr Adams from the Register, saying: “Mr Adams was simultaneously downloading indecent images of children while acting in the capacity of a residential child care worker. That juxtaposition of opposites could not have been lost on him, and certainly is not lost on us.
The panel added: “The damage done to the reputation of the profession through Mr Adams’s actions is, in our view, incalculable. We are satisfied that Mr Adams’s conduct required both planning and premeditation.
“We also bear in mind the remarks of the sentencing judge that, in some part at least, Mr Adams remained in denial about the gravity of his offending.”
The panel continued: “Only a Removal Order will be adequate. This is because, in our view, there has been an exceptionally serious departure from the relevant standards set out in the Code of Professional Practice for Social Care. We do not consider that any lesser disposal would protect the public.”
Mr Adams was not present at the one-day hearing, which was held over Zoom last week.