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Residential child care worker removed from the Register for failing to maintain professional boundaries

22 October 2019
Social Care Wales

A residential child care worker from Gwynedd has been removed from the Register of Social Care Workers after a hearing found his fitness to practise was impaired because of serious misconduct.

Aaron Owen was accused of failing to maintain professional boundaries with a vulnerable former resident of the children’s home where he worked, after he exchanged inappropriate WhatsApp messages, phone calls and video calls with the young person.

The hearing was told that Mr Owen failed to tell his manager about the communication and failed to put a stop to it when the young person began making flirtatious and personal comments, which suggested she’d formed an emotional attachment to him.

The hearing was told that Mr Owen asked the young person to delete the WhatsApp messages, and later denied having done so in a disciplinary meeting, despite evidence to the contrary.

Having heard the evidence, the panel decided that Mr Owen’s fitness to practise was currently impaired because of serious misconduct.

Explaining its decision, the panel said: “While the conduct itself is capable of remediation, we did not consider that in Mr Owen’s case this could be easily achieved.

“This is because he has displayed a very significant (and consistent) lack of judgement. Indeed, his position during the course of his employer’s disciplinary investigation was one of denial, even to the point of accusing his employers of conducting a ‘witch hunt’ against him.

“There is no evidence of any actual insight before us, nor is there any evidence of Mr Owen taking any steps to remedy the actions that led to the breaches of the Code of Professional Practice for Social Care that we have identified.”

The panel decided to remove Mr Owen from the Register, saying: “We have decided that, on the evidence before us, only a Removal Order will be adequate in Mr Owen’s case.”

The panel continued: “We do not consider that any lesser disposal would protect the public, given the lack of both insight and remediation to which we have already referred.”

Mr Owen was not present at the three-day hearing at our Cardiff office last week.