Two residential child care workers from Gwynedd have been removed from the Register of Social Care Workers after a hearing found their fitness to practise was impaired because of serious misconduct.
The hearing was told that Richard Burnell and Kyle Johnson wrapped a vulnerable 15-year-old in their care in cling film and tape while they were staying in a caravan.
The hearing was shown photographs and videos of the incident, and in the video clips, Mr Burnell and Mr Johnson could be heard making inappropriate, insulting and demeaning sexualised comments to the young man while he was bound.
Neither care worker made any attempt to stop the other’s behaviour, even though they had a professional responsibility to do so.
The inappropriate behaviour came to light when the 15-year-old’s mother found photos and videos of the incident on her son’s social media and alerted the home’s management.
The young man later told a social worker that the incident was a joke and he’d asked the workers to tie him up.
But the home’s registered manager and deputy manager told the hearing they were troubled by what they saw in the videos.
Having seen and heard the evidence, the panel decided that Mr Burnell and Mr Johnson’s fitness to practise was currently impaired because of serious misconduct.
Explaining its decision, the panel said: “Mr Johnson and Mr Burnell both behaved in an entirely unacceptable way.
“They used grossly inappropriate language and behaved in a way that was likely to intimidate the young person. Having given careful consideration to the behaviour of each individual, we have concluded that they both behaved deplorably.
“This is clearly a case in which the public interest is an important consideration. The young person’s mother wrote ‘the hardest part for me is that we put [him] in care to keep him safe and actually in care he wasn’t safe’.
“Her confidence was severely affected and we would expect a reasonable member of the public to be shocked at the conduct of both carers.”
The panel decided to remove Mr Burnell and Mr Johnson from the Register, saying: “We have decided that [the] imposition of a Removal Order is necessary to protect the public and to protect public confidence.”
Neither Mr Burnell nor Mr Johnson were present at the three-day hearing at our Cardiff office last week.